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April 2, 2012 9:04 AM   Subscribe

Curveball comes clean: "My main purpose was to topple the tyrant in Iraq because the longer this dictator remains in power, the more the Iraqi people will suffer from this regime's oppression." ... When it is put to him "we went to war in Iraq on a lie. And that lie was your lie", he simply replies: "Yes."
posted by unSane (82 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy crap. Is there any recourse against this guy?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:07 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


One lie maybe, but a lot of desire on the part of a wannabe "war president".
posted by Catblack at 9:09 AM on April 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


Blaming the war on him is ridiculous. Bush and Cheney would have gone to war no matter what 'evidence' they had.
posted by empath at 9:10 AM on April 2, 2012 [70 favorites]


Indeed. It's like blaming the Zippo for the actions of the pyromaniac.
posted by Bromius at 9:14 AM on April 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


The Tailor of Panama + The Looking Glass War = Iraq War
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:17 AM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Holy crap. Is there any recourse against this guy?

Let's offer him full immunity if he testifies against BushCo. at the Hague.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:20 AM on April 2, 2012 [47 favorites]


"You can't cheat an honest man." -- W.C. Fields
posted by steinsaltz at 9:21 AM on April 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Wait. Didn't we already know this? Wasn't it only the PNAC bozos who pretended this wasn't true?
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:22 AM on April 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Let's offer him full immunity if he testifies against BushCo. at the Hague.
Let's tell him that and then deport him back to the Iraq he helped create.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:23 AM on April 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


Previously. Just noting he came clean a year ago; it's mentioned in the Wikipedia link.
posted by mediareport at 9:23 AM on April 2, 2012


Holy crap. Is there any recourse against this guy?

A well-practiced flat swing.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:25 AM on April 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also previously.

IIRC, there was some other, much more credible source telling US Intelligence and Bush's administration that Iraq didn't have WMDs. The Bush administration simply believed the source that was telling them what they wanted to hear.
posted by VTX at 9:28 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Watch this drive.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:29 AM on April 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


None of the crap they were saying about WMDs even passed an initial, cursory sniff test.

The responsibility for letting war profiteers run the US government rests with the US general public.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:31 AM on April 2, 2012 [31 favorites]


This guy is the Mike Daisey of war criminals.
posted by schmod at 9:32 AM on April 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


At least Mike Daisey's story was assembled from bits of the truth -- this dude was just blatantly making shit up.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:37 AM on April 2, 2012


The Bush administration simply believed the source that was telling them what they wanted to hear.

Do you think they really believed him?
posted by empath at 9:40 AM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


empath: "Blaming the war on him is ridiculous. Bush and Cheney would have gone to war no matter what 'evidence' they had."

Yes, but they needed popular support behind the war. This (and 9/11) gave it to them.
posted by schmod at 9:43 AM on April 2, 2012


This is a nice detail for the history books, but this revelation will change the beliefs of exactly zero people.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:45 AM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sigh.

An acquaintance of mine saw this article, and believes that it is proof that we should have invaded. Why? The article was published on April 1st, so it was a joke, which means that Curveball's statements weren't lies.

Words fail.
posted by verb at 9:46 AM on April 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


See? One person can make a difference.
posted by spaltavian at 9:46 AM on April 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


"The responsibility for letting war profiteers run the US government rests with the US general public. - U.S. Supreme Court"

FTFY - literally, for all of us.
posted by stratastar at 9:48 AM on April 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


You know what? No. I get that the Cheney train was full speed to a war in Iraq, but some lies are of such great magnitude that you can't let the liar go scot free. This wasn't a tool, like a Zippo. This was a one-way ticket to pointless war that was good only for one rider: Uncle Sam. Sure, some other guy might have printed up this exact same ticket, but it was this guy. THIS GUY. He has blood on his hands (as do other people). And clearly, he doesn't care. This is morally reprehensible.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:48 AM on April 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm actually more interested by the reveal about Anna Chapman in the linked article than the Curveball stuff. I can't remember ever being even remotely in doubt about whether that WMD stuff was true.
posted by yoink at 9:48 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The responsibility for letting war profiteers run the US government rests with the US general public.

The public should have known better. Plenty of folks did and they were shouted down. It didn't help that leading Democrats like our current Secretary of State and Vice President apparently were more easily fooled.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:50 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Chapman stuff is interesting. So once they cracked their stenography they waited for an actual threat to ... emerge, before they kicked the Russians out of the country.
posted by stratastar at 9:52 AM on April 2, 2012


One of the things I find most amazing about 9/11 is how it seems to have made almost everyone forget that the Iraq war was a foregone conclusion the moment Bush became president and everybody at the time knew it.

I had an in-law who was a career Army officer and he got out in 2000 because he said outright, we're going to go into Iraq and I don't want any part of it. This was common knowledge. It's only after 9/11 that everyone sort of decided that had to be what made it happen because 9/11 was so huge that it blotted out everything in its orbit.

This guy is slime, to be sure, but don't imagine for a moment that he single-handedly changed the course of history. There are people who hate every despot on earth and would gladly insist that they're building nukes, harboring terrorists, and bathing in the blood of virgins if that would get the U.S. to knock them over.

What makes this guy different is that he was in the right place at the right time. He was useful and he was listened to because he helped justify something that the U.S. government wanted to do anyway. Had that not been the case, if we had no particular beef with Saddam to begin with, his claims would have been assessed by professionals - or more correctly, the assessments of professionals would have been listened to - and they would have been rejected as the fantasies they were. He didn't change U.S. policy one iota. He was created by it and carried along in the draft of its unstoppable momentum. Not the other way around.
posted by Naberius at 9:53 AM on April 2, 2012 [19 favorites]


To Mr and Mrs Man, a son, Ice.
posted by Acheman at 9:55 AM on April 2, 2012


Do you think they really believed him?

You're right, "believed" is the wrong word. "Acknowledged" maybe?
posted by VTX at 9:58 AM on April 2, 2012


There was considerably more than one lie going around. We know the Bush administration itself simply made up whatever they felt like saying :

"We know where [the WMD] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."Rumsfeld

Anyone remember Condoleezza Rice's claim that Iraq wouldn't descend into civil war because it was culturally homogeneous?

We know the oil industry lobbied for the invasion of Iraq. We had another article about how the Saudis lobbied for the Iraq war too, although I cannot find the link now. And wikileaks exposed the Saudi's lobbying for war with Iran.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:03 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyone remember Condoleezza Rice's claim that Iraq wouldn't descend into civil war because it was culturally homogeneous?

Uh, no actually. Do you have a cite for that? Because that's absurd on its face. Iraq was deliberately designed by the British after WWI to be culturally and ethnically unstable, capable of functioning only within the strong grip of a ruthless central power like the British Empire. Or, um, the Baath Party.
posted by Naberius at 10:11 AM on April 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


We know the oil industry lobbied for the invasion of Iraq.

So I followed that link to Wikipedia, and from Wikipedia to the (broken) link at Judicial Watch. I searched on the Judicial Watch site and found that among the documents they got pertaining to Cheney's energy task force was a map of Iraqi oil fields. There were also maps of Saudi and UAE oil fields.

As smoking guns go this is a clown's "BANG" flag gun with a broken spring.
posted by yoink at 10:14 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well we got rid of the rapeatoriums and babies are no longer being removed from incubators so....ya know....success.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:15 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're right, "believed" is the wrong word. "Acknowledged" maybe?

"Utilized" is the word.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:19 AM on April 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


Anyone remember Condoleezza Rice's claim that Iraq wouldn't descend into civil war because it was culturally homogeneous?

No, but I remember her telling the 9/11 commission that the reason they didn't do anything about the warnings of Al Qaida flying planes into buildings is that no one told them what to do about it.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:21 AM on April 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Curveball = goat. In this case, another handy hook for the simple of mind to hang a paradigm on (how the world works). Anyhow, he's old news, probably just trying to prime it up for his new book.

Yet another sickening phase has begun, where assholes we elected to our Congress begin crawling out from under rocks to proclaim that they knew it all along. But the contracts were awarded, so I guess they can say what they want.

B-43 and his handlers got what they came for. They took the money and ran. War crimes? Yeah, right. War crimes apply only to the lower pay grades, excluding contractors, of course.
posted by mule98J at 10:22 AM on April 2, 2012


Uh, no actually. Do you have a cite for that? Because that's absurd on its face.

Which would make it totally in line with just about anything the Bush administration said about Iraq, wouldn't it? I'd like to see a cite for it too, but counting on them to say something that's actually verifiable or makes sense is actually kind of on the bad side of Occam's Razor on this one.
posted by LionIndex at 10:22 AM on April 2, 2012


Yeah, everyone knew that Powell was a lying sack of crap when he made that speech about the WMD. Janabi merely gave Bushco a curtain to hide behind. All of them have blood on their hands - Janabi, Powell, Bush, Cheney and every congressman and senator who voted for the Iraq war resolution.
posted by caddis at 10:26 AM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whilest we are all spitting at "Curveball" can we also give a good kicking to his sordid buddy Ahmed Chalabi.
posted by adamvasco at 10:32 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Old news. Here's the original confession given to The Guardian in February of last year.
posted by 3.2.3 at 10:35 AM on April 2, 2012


every congressman and senator who voted for the Iraq war resolution

The Iraqi War Resolution was sold very cleverly to the public and to Congress. Bush sold it as the best way to avoid war; his claim--and this was explicit at the time--was that he needed to be able to show Hussein that he wasn't bluffing and that "all options" really were "on the table," and that this would be the only way to get him to back down and let the UN inspectors back in and get Hussein to give up all his information about WMDs. If you look at the comments by Congresspeople after the passage of the bill it's all "let's hope that by doing this we've avoided war."

In hindsight, it's clear that Bush was going to go to war with Iraq no matter what, but at the time it wasn't absolutely clear; it wasn't clear, for example, that he would proceed despite the fact that the rationale used for the resolution actually panned out, and Hussein did, in fact, let the UN back in and did, in fact, hand over all the info on his attempts to develop WMD (such as they were). To vote against the resolution at the time would have been a politically difficult stand: it would not have come across as "I'm against war in Iraq" it would have come across as "I don't want the President negotiating with Hussein from a position of strength." I can understand why that wasn't an appealing position for many Congresspeople.
posted by yoink at 10:37 AM on April 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


BS.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:47 AM on April 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


With all the full and due respect that is deserved to said "let's hope that by doing this we've avoided war," they were full of BS, and they knew it.
posted by caddis at 10:48 AM on April 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Anyone remember Condoleezza Rice's claim that Iraq wouldn't descend into civil war because it was culturally homogeneous?

I don't recall that specifically, but I do remember former ambassador Galbraith's assertion that George W. Bush was unaware of the differences between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims until sometime in 2003:

"From the president and the vice president down through the neoconservatives at the Pentagon, there was a belief that Iraq was a blank slate on which the United States could impose its vision of a pluralistic democratic society," said Galbraith. "The arrogance came in the form of a belief that this could be accomplished with minimal effort and planning by the United States and that it was not important to know something about Iraq."
posted by malocchio at 10:53 AM on April 2, 2012


George W. Bush was unaware of the differences between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims until sometime in 2003

See also: Ground, hole in the, his ass and a ...
posted by IAmBroom at 11:06 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


And don't forget Ahmed Chalabi, who's basically an Iranian spy.

That's the irony here, the Iranians wanted this war, and they were able to get it by using their intelligence agents to manipulate the U.S. government into doing what they wanted.

This isn't to say they didn't luck out because a bunch of neo-cons got elected, who worked at think tanks funded by defense contractors prior to going back into government. The defense contractors made a shitload of money as well, so of course they were all for it. The Iranians recognized what was going on and leveraged the situation by spending fake informants in to give the neocons the (obviously fraudulent, but they knew they didn't care) data they needed to go to war.
posted by delmoi at 11:16 AM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Iraqi War Resolution was sold very cleverly to the public and to Congress. Bush sold it as the best way to avoid war; his claim--and this was explicit at the time--was that he needed to be able to show Hussein that he wasn't bluffing and that "all options" really were "on the table,"
Oh please that is the biggest load of revisionist bullshit in history. There was also a follow on amendment that would have made the authorization of use of force contingent on a U.N. agreement that they had WMD, that amendment was voted down and at least in the case of Hillary Clinton, she voted against it -- this came up in one of the debates in 2008.

But anyway, that war was being promoted and likely was obvious to everyone. It's true that in theory the vote for the war didn't require war, but it should have been obvious that a vote for the war would mean a war would most likely happen.

The thing is there is no way that a vote against the war would make the war less likely.

Every single senator/congressperson who voted against the war did so because they were against the war.

To say otherwise is a complete fabrication and indicates that someone is more interested in promoting/protecting the democratic party then the truth.
posted by delmoi at 11:22 AM on April 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


With all the full and due respect that is deserved to said "let's hope that by doing this we've avoided war," they were full of BS, and they knew it.

That is easy to say with hindsight. It was not, however, the received opinion at the time. There is immense historical revisionism on this point by both the left and the right. The right has clung to the "well, you voted for it!" line about the Iraq war--so they have no incentive to be honest about the way the resolution was debated at the time and the anti-war left understandably like to be in the position of saying "we told you so!"

Here is George Bush speaking just three days before the Congressional vote:
Later this week, the United States Congress will vote on this matter. I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America's military, if it proves necessary, to enforce U.N. Security Council demands. Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable. The resolution will tell the United Nations, and all nations, that America speaks with one voice and is determined to make the demands of the civilized world mean something. Congress will also be sending a message to the dictator in Iraq: that his only chance -- his only choice is full compliance, and the time remaining for that choice is limited. Source.
Oh please that is the biggest load of revisionist bullshit in history.

Delmoi, I'm talking about how the Resolution was "sold"--not what the Bush administration was honestly intending. The quotation above just proves that my account of how it was "sold" was 100% accurate. There we have Bush, "selling" the resolution by insisting that it's not primarily aimed at going to war with Hussein, but at making him comply with UN resolutions.
posted by yoink at 11:29 AM on April 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


What is it? Not the received opinion at the time or just how it was sold?
posted by caddis at 11:32 AM on April 2, 2012


The public should have known better. Plenty of folks did and they were shouted down. It didn't help that leading Democrats like our current Secretary of State and Vice President apparently were more easily fooled.

The public did know better. I seem to recall (literally) millions of people in the streets protesting the rush to war.
posted by jokeefe at 11:35 AM on April 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh, and here, by the way, is an excerpt from Dick Gephardt's speech to Congress on the Iraq War Resolution directly referencing the Bush speech above:
As I stated in a speech in June, I believe we must confront the threat posed by the current Iraqi regime directly. But given the stakes involved, and the potential risks to our security and the region, we must proceed carefully and deliberately. That is why I felt it was essential to engage in negotiations in order to craft an effective and responsible authorization for the use of force, if necessary, so we can defend our Nation and enforce U.N. resolutions pertaining to Iraq.

At the insistence of many of us, the resolution includes a provision urging President Bush to continue his efforts to get the U.N. to effectively enforce its own resolutions against Iraq. I have told the President directly, on numerous occasions, that in my view, and in the view of a lot of us, he must do everything he possibly can to achieve our objectives with the support of the United Nations. His speech to the U.N. on September 12 was an excellent beginning to this effort.

Exhausting all efforts at the U.N. is essential. But let us remember why. We started the U.N. over 50 years ago. We remain the greatest advocate of the rule of law, both domestically and internationally. We must do everything we can to get the U.N. to succeed. It is in our own self-interest to do that. In 1945, Harry Truman told the Senate that the creation of the U.N. constituted, in his words, an expression of national necessity. He said the U.N. points down the only road to enduring peace. He said let us not hesitate to start down that road, with God's help, and with firm resolve that we can and will reach our goal: peace and security for all Americans.

Completely bypassing the U.N. would set a dangerous precedent that would undoubtedly be used by other countries in the future to our and the world's detriment. It is too high a price to pay. I am glad the President said in his speech Monday that diplomacy is the first choice for resolving this matter.

This resolution also limits the scope and duration of the President's authority to use force. It requires Presidential determinations before our Armed Forces may be used against Iraq, including assurances to Congress that he has pursued all diplomatic means to address this threat and that any military action will not undermine our ongoing efforts against terrorism. Source.
Again, my claim is not that the War Resolution was a good faith effort to enlist Congress in a primarily diplomatic struggle with Hussein. My claim is that the Bush administration cleverly framed the bill in this way, putting Congresspeople--particularly senators, who are supposed to be relatively nonpartisan in foreign-affairs matters--in a difficult political position.
posted by yoink at 11:36 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


In other news, I hear Dick Cheney has had a change of heart.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:45 AM on April 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


What is it? Not the received opinion at the time or just how it was sold?

Where do you see a contradiction in that? It was sold that way and it was successfully sold that way. If you read op-ed pieces from Oct 11 2002 you don't see a whole bunch of people saying "The US just declared war on Iraq" or even "war with Iraq is now inevitable." Obviously we could all see that we had taken another big step forward on a very slippery path, but it was not clear at the time that we had irrevocably committed the nation to war.

Here, for example, is a New York Times editorial from Oct. 11, 2002, just after the resolution was passed. It does not write about war as an inevitability, despite the passage of the Resolution. Instead it writes about it as a looming threat, but it continues to buy the line that the administration was selling:
Mr. Bush's most immediate challenge is using the leverage Congress has now provided to win Security Council support for a tough new inspection resolution. The desirable alternative to war is to send U.N. arms investigators back into Iraq with no restrictions on their ability to search out and destroy Baghdad's illegal weapons programs. It needs to be fully explored.
posted by yoink at 11:47 AM on April 2, 2012


The problem with using only examples from US media at the time is that the US media strictly policed the group think the political class wanted enforced. The European media, especially the British press, was openly skeptical (or sceptical) of the claims regarding Saddam Hussein's weapons. Likewise, the inspectors themselves were skeptical. The mainstream press treated these voices with great muffling.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:17 PM on April 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Politicians say a lot of shit. Most of it they don't mean. Pulling one or two quotes out of thousands has nothing to do with what was really going on. In fact, one of the things politicians are careful to do is make a whole bunch of statements supporting, at least a little, every position so that they can then come back later and do exactly what you're doing now.

And really it's so disingenuous. At the time, it was obvious what was going on. Everyone knew a vote to authorize war would, you know, authorize war. Everyone knew bush pretty much wanted to go to war. Troops were being built up in Kuwait, etc.

The idea that this was done just to back up weapons inspectors, who eventually had to leave Iraq -- not because they were done with their work -- but because the U.S. was obviously going to invade is completely absurd.

It's just ridiculous. The basic argument you're making is that the democrats were complete fucking idiots who were 'fooled' but George W. Bush. How dumb do you have to be to be fooled by George W. Bush? I'd say, pretty fucking stupid. We know the Dems weren't that dumb, so they obviously knew what they were doing.

Anyway, it's dishonest and pathetic to claim that the democrats didn't know that voting for the war would mean the war would happen.

It's the exact kind of basic dishonesty that makes this country's political system so obnoxious. Rather then discuss what actually happened, partisans instead make up an alternate history that makes them look better and argue about which history is the real one. Maybe it's the case that you've been fooled yourself, rather then deliberately lying. But the claim that the democrats didn't know that a vote to authorize war would certainly increase likelyhood of an invasion is false, despite the fact that they may have made equivocating statements at the time.

Statements don't matter, especially from politicians actions do.
posted by delmoi at 12:22 PM on April 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Oh god and this bit you highlighted is actually hilarious:
This resolution also limits the scope and duration of the President's authority to use force. It requires Presidential determinations before our Armed Forces may be used against Iraq, including assurances to Congress that he has pursued all diplomatic means to address this threat
Presidential determinations? In other words, the president can't invade unless he 'determines' he needs to invade!?!? He has to make assurances that he needs to invade? It's not actually a limitation at all. It's a joke, and it should certainly be laughed at if it's seriously being used to try to prove that there were meaningful restrictions on the ability to go to war.
posted by delmoi at 12:25 PM on April 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


the anti-war left understandably like to be in the position of saying "we told you so!"

That isn't revisionism though, it's what happened. The anti-war folks definitely saw the vote in terms of Bush getting approval to launch his invasion. It's a myth that everyone was dumb enough to get fooled. The only purpose of the perpetuation of the myth is so everyone can ignore the liberals again next time. I've said it before, but I'm not really an ideological liberal, I have a strong libertarian streak, but anyone who is paying attention eventually drifts to the left because of their pesky habit of being right about things almost all the time.

Why I Oppose Bush's Iraq War Resolution
by Sen. Russ Feingold
October 11, 2002

Many of us have spent months reviewing the issue of the advisability of invading Iraq in the near future. From hearings and meetings on the process and the very important role of Congress to the difficult questions of substance, including foreign policy and military implications, after my own review and carefully listening to hundreds of Wisconsin citizens in person, I spoke on the floor on Thursday, September 26, and, Mr. President, I indicated my opposition to the original draft use of force authorization by the President, and I also used that opportunity to raise some very important questions, to which I needed answers before supporting a narrower and more responsible resolution.

Now, after many more meetings and reading articles and attending briefings, listening to my colleagues' speeches, and especially listening to the President's speech in Cincinnati on Monday, Mr. President, I still don't believe that the President and the Administration have adequately answered the critical questions. They have not yet met the important burden to persuade Congress and the American people that we should invade Iraq at this time.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:36 PM on April 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's a myth that everyone was dumb enough to get fooled.

Yes, yes, kill the evil straw man!

Rather then discuss what actually happened, partisans instead make up an alternate history that makes them look better and argue about which history is the real one.

Except that my version of history comes with citations that prove it is correct. Your version certainly comes with lots and lots of self-righteousness, though, so it does have that going for it.
posted by yoink at 12:53 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Except that my version of history comes with citations that prove it is correct.
The citations are completely meaningless. Everyone understands this. The fact that the Iraq war happened is proof that the vote to authorize war allowed it to happen.
posted by delmoi at 12:57 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's a myth that everyone was dumb enough to get fooled.

Yes, yes, kill the evil straw man!


I just quoted a United States Senator who did not receive the opinion you said was received opinion about what that vote meant. Remember this? "If you look at the comments by Congresspeople after the passage of the bill it's all "let's hope that by doing this we've avoided war."

See, there were other people in government and outside it that did not find that the bill was that cleverly sold.

In hindsight, it's clear that Bush was going to go to war with Iraq no matter what, but at the time it wasn't absolutely clear.


But yeah, to some of us it was. The folks who voted for the Iraq war don't get to pretend they have no responsibility for it, there was no excuse for their ignorance or cowardice or whatever it was.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:01 PM on April 2, 2012


The person that can sleep at night with any part of a 100,000 deaths on his or her hands is not human.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 1:06 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fact that the Iraq war happened is proof that the vote to authorize war allowed it to happen.

Ah, delmoi, your willful obtuseness is so endearingly predictable. Yes, the vote to authorize the war did allow it to happen. I did not argue otherwise. Yes, many, perhaps most, of the people making statements about the Resolution serving to bolster diplomatic efforts were being disingenuous; I did not argue otherwise. Yes, there were many (not all) on the anti-war left who predicted the inevitability of the war even before the Resolution came to a vote; I did not argue otherwise.

The argument I made was about how the Resolution was "sold" to Congress and to the American people, and that this was a clever way to sell it because it made it difficult for politicians to vote against the resolution without looking as though they were undermining the President's diplomatic efforts. I have demonstrated A) that it was, in fact, sold to Congress and to the American people on this basis. I have demonstrated that politicians acknowledged this framing of the issue in their votes on the bill. I have demonstrated that even after the passage of the resolution important voices of public opinion (the NYT editorial column) still did not regard war as inevitable and did, in fact, buy the notion that the Resolution helped in Bush's diplomatic effort. I have, in fact, given strong documentary evidence to support every single claim that I made.

But, boy, I sure can't match you for self-righteousness, so I guess you win.
posted by yoink at 1:06 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just quoted a United States Senator who did not receive the opinion you said was received opinion about what that vote meant.

I said nothing whatsoever about something being the "received opinion." What I said was that the claim that the Resolution irrevocably committed us to war was NOT the received opinion. If I say that it is "not the received opinion" that Justin Bieber is the greatest singer of all time I am not claiming that nobody holds that opinion. This is not particularly complex.

The fact that Feingold (along with several of his colleagues) opposed the war resolution is utterly immaterial to my argument.
posted by yoink at 1:10 PM on April 2, 2012


I think, yoink, that delmoi is not getting or doesn't buy your point that the framing of the resolution and the spin coming from the White House was such that Congress were given no choice but to become part of this sell by saying things like 'well, it doesn't mean war'. Their choice was join the sales team or die on the political vine once the public is sold.

What delmoi is saying is that anyone with a conscience in Congress still had the choice not to join the sales team.

That's what I'm reading, anyway. So to me, you are both correct but Delmoi has added a judgement to the end. A judgement which I agree with.
posted by spicynuts at 1:11 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


What delmoi is saying is that anyone with a conscience in Congress still had the choice not to join the sales team.

That is, of course, true and no part of my argument conflicts with that. If that were all delmoi wanted to say then he would have no reason to claim that what I'm saying is--what was his charming phrase?--"the biggest load of revisionist bullshit in history." So no, we're not both right here, alas.
posted by yoink at 1:14 PM on April 2, 2012


I've said it before, but I'm not really an ideological liberal, I have a strong libertarian streak, but anyone who is paying attention eventually drifts to the left because of their pesky habit of being right about things almost all the time.

I was raised in a politically conservative Republican family, and I suppose there's a sense in which I'm tempermentally conservative. I'm basically the straight-laced, buttoned-down type. I voted almost completely straight-ticket Republican all the way from my first Presidential election in 1992 (my failed vote to re-elect G.H.W. Bush) to 2000, when I voted for W and was glad, though not ecstatic, to see him eventually make it into office. (I didn't really like W's obvious anti-intellectual bent, but still, he was on my team.) It was the lead up to Iraq that made me seriously rethink my commitments, because I was paying attention and it seemed clear that the Bush admin was lying like crazy. I remember a press conference in, I think 2005 or 2006, when people were still asking "Why exactly are we in Iraq?" Bush responded that Hussein wouldn't let weapons inspectors in to do their job, so we had no choice, and I was frustrated and frankly astonished that no reporter asked a follow-up about Hans Blix. I was yelling at the TV--"am I the only one who remembers that there were weapons inspectors in Iraq and Bush told them to get out so he could start the bombing?"

That was the first domino to fall. I started fact-checking more and more of my positions: turns out there is no controversy about global warming among climatologists; looks like higher tax brackets actually don't kill economic growth; there's no reason to think that universal health care couldn't be as effective in the US as it has been in other countries....on and on and on. I couldn't find anything significant where the GOP had been correct on the facts. When the swift-boating of Kerry happened in 2004, I was completely disgusted by my former party and voted wholly for the Democrats. I used to hold out a kind of nostaligic hope that the GOP would start talking some sense and at least acknowledging reality, even if they propose solutions that I no longer find workable. But after their behavior in the McCain/Obama campaign, I've stopped holding my breath. A reality-based conservative party would be a good thing for America, but it's going to be a long, long time before we see one.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:18 PM on April 2, 2012 [17 favorites]


What I said was that the claim that the Resolution irrevocably committed us to war was NOT the received opinion.

Dude, you have said lots of stuff. Some of which I have directly contradicted with quotes, for instance "If you look at the comments by Congresspeople after the passage of the bill it's all "let's hope that by doing this we've avoided war."

No, it was not all that, it was some of that and some other people telling the truth.

You say: so they have no incentive to be honest about the way the resolution was debated at the time and the anti-war left understandably like to be in the position of saying "we told you so!"

And I quoted for you how the left debated it at the time. The only way to claim the left is revising history on this is to do what you are doing, revising it to pretend Feingold was not part of how it was debated at the time.

Everyone knew what the vote was, the assertions to the contrary were and are nothing but political turd polishing. The opinion was received because the truth was intentionally rejected even though folks like Feingold were shouting it. The truth got you fired in the media.

Debating this only leaves one in the same position you always end up when talking about support for Bush policies: Evil or Stupid?

It doesn't fucking matter which.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:23 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


What delmoi is saying is that anyone with a conscience in Congress still had the choice not to join the sales team.
It's more then joining the sales team, it's more like: authorizing the product be sold. They made the choice to allow it to happen, it wasn't just a question of promoting it or not promoting it.
. I was yelling at the TV--"am I the only one who remembers that there were weapons inspectors in Iraq and Bush told them to get out so he could start the bombing?"
Yeah, that was the other thing. In fact, I remember early on Saddam actually invited weapons inspectors back, and the bush administration prevented them from going. Why? The argument was they didn't want inspectors in there without 'consiquences' if they kicked them out. But the real reason was obvious, they didn't really give a shit about WMD and they wanted an excuse to go to war. It was at that point I figured out there weren't WMD. The bush administration was behaving as if they didn't really believe there were any WMD.

The fact they started the war before the inspectors could finish was pretty much all the proof you needed, but at that point it was too late to vote against the authorization.

---
Ah, delmoi, your willful obtuseness is so endearingly predictable. Yes, the vote to authorize the war did allow it to happen.
Right, end of story.

Your argument, from a logical point of view goes like this:

1) These politicians said they weren't really voting for the war, just for authorization
2) therefore, that's the truth.

But that begs the question: do politicians tell the truth? The answer is no, of course they don't. It's not a logically sound argument.
in fact, given strong documentary evidence to support every single claim that I made.
Right, and as I said, the documentation you have is quotations from politicians, which are meaningless. Because we know politicians are dishonest as a matter of course, their statements don't form reliable data.
But, boy, I sure can't match you for self-righteousness, so I guess you win.
No, I win because my argument is logically sound, and yours is not.

Anyway, let me ask you specifically: Do you believe that politicians always tell the truth? If not, how can quotes from politicians be used to prove any point?
posted by delmoi at 1:29 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I understand that congress people and senators were under considerable political pressure to vote for the Iraq war resolution in question. I also understand that the Iraq war was the greatest foreign policy mistake in the history of the United States. It cost us trillions of dollars, caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, and put us in a worse strategic position than we would have been had we not invaded Iraq. These were entirely foreseeable outcomes at the time of the vote. If, faced with the choice of signing your name to such a disastrous course of action because you perceive it to be the safest way to keep your seat in Congress or taking a political risk by standing up for the right course of action, you choose your personal "safety" over what is good for the Republic, you don't deserve to be in Congress. I will never cast a vote for anyone who cast a vote for the Iraq war, because it means they were wrong about the biggest and most important issue that ever came in front of them.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:32 PM on April 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


What I said was that the claim that the Resolution irrevocably committed us to war was NOT the received opinion.

Your quotes don't actually prove that. They prove instead that some selected people who voted for the war gave speeches in which they pretended that they didn't.

The fabrication you are arguing here, namely that they actually thought they would be voting against the war by voting for the war requires congresspeople/senators to actually be unrealistically dumb. I'm not buying it.
posted by patrick54 at 1:32 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Before the actual invasion of Iraq, that country was subject to a dozen years of sanctions that softened it up by crippling its infrastructure. For example:
... the US blocked the purchase by Iraq of millions of dollars worth of ambulances on the grounds that they had vacuum flasks. The US view was that the vacuum flasks could be removed and used to keep biological warfare materials cool. Yet in 2002 I walked through Baghdad and saw shop windows full of vacuum flasks. If Saddam Hussein had wanted vacuum flasks, he could have got them from a local shop - he hardly needed to import ambulances to get them.
During that time, American bombing continued to devastate the country -- not just in the No-Fly Zones (determined by the US, not the UN), and not just when the President needed to deflect attention from a possible impeachment. By March 2003, one could simply walk into Mordor -- or drive a bulldozer to bury the pathetically underequipped Iraqi soldiers alive in their defensive trenches.

No, it wasn't just this one guy who lied and led the US into war. And neither Bush nor Cheney should be assigned the sole blame. The sanctions may have been responsible for the deaths of one and a half million Iraqis, including half a million Iraqi children, but Secretary of State Madeleine Albright believed "we think the price is worth it." Yes, the sanctions were worth it: although the aftermath of the invasion was long and messy, the final tally would probably put the final ratio at 200 Iraqi dead for every American killed.

The sanctions led to the invasion. American media on the left and the right supported the sanctions. Both Democrats and Republicans supported the sanctions.

Curveball belongs only in a footnote. The weasel words of any particular politician, whether supporting or decrying the invasion at that time, are better forgotten.
posted by fredludd at 2:11 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think that both this guy and Chalabi were the classic definition of "useful idiots." That doesn't mean they both won't look good dangling from the end of a fucking rope.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:27 PM on April 2, 2012


What delmoi is saying is that anyone with a conscience in Congress still had the choice not to join the sales team.

Sure, but this is a stupid point that's not worth making. Of course it was a cowardly act; who expects bravery from Congress? More importantly, who cares about delmoi's moral indignation?

I'm interested in what happened, and how it happened. I was against the war from the first nanosecond it hit the public consciousness. At this point, everyone already agrees with that or they are irreconcilable with reality.

That argument is over; I think looking at how it happened, and the strategy used on Congress is more productive than reminding everyone how a majority of 535 people should have known better 10 years ago. We already know that.
posted by spaltavian at 2:28 PM on April 2, 2012


Surely thi....
I can't do this anymore.

I have lost the will to be sarcastic about this. I don't know what happened and I don't think I will ever know. I know that I loved my country and believed all the best about it. I believed that it could be the shinning example I thought it was. Then everything changed. My country got hit and so many of us seemed to go mad. Like a wounded animal my country thrashed about and demanded blood. The fact that it was poured out for us at our asking does not change the fact that we drank it down in satisfaction like a cat with a saucer of milk never caring where it came from. That was when I lost my innocence, in this area of my life anyway. That was the day I watched my country fail to rise and meet the challenges of adulthood. It was like finding your father passed out drunk on the floor. What once was divine is now all to human.

I am wiser now but it still smarts.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 2:30 PM on April 2, 2012


Sure, but this is a stupid point that's not worth making. Of course it was a cowardly act; who expects bravery from Congress? More importantly, who cares about delmoi's moral indignation?
In other words: "Sure, he's right but who cares?" Well... obviously someone cares deeply about spreading confusion, which is why they're lying about it.

If no one cared, why would they bother doing that?

It's kind of an amazing comment -- someone was making inaccurate statements, either deliberately or having been conned by someone else about what happened, I pointed out that the statements were inaccurate, and now you're complaining about me doing so because "no one cares"? I'm not the one who started the conversation. In fact I wasn't even the first person to call it out.
I'm interested in what happened, and how it happened.
You would think that you'd have a problem the person who was making inaccurate statements, rather then the person who pointed out that those statements were inaccurate. But apparently trying to tell the actual truth is "moral indignation" now, which poses the question "who cares?"
posted by delmoi at 3:45 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seriously, fuck this guy.

And fuck the idiots running the government at the time for believing him.
posted by Fister Roboto at 4:32 PM on April 2, 2012


They knew he wasn't telling the truth. They didn't give a damn. They knowingly took his fake story and trotted it out as an excuse to justify the war that they were going to have, hell or high water.

I'm not a supporter of capital punishment but the lot that brought that war about are as worthy a lot of candidates as I've ever seen.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:46 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem with this story is that it doesn't trump people's need to believe in what they've already chosen to believe.

Telling people the WMD story (and thus the Iraq invasion) were all lies by this one guy is like telling people that you can't catch a cold by going out in the cold with wet hair: You can explain it, you can show them evidence, and they may even understand and internalize it, and it will make sense until it's cold out again, and they'll still wear heavy coats "so they don't get sick"
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:25 AM on April 3, 2012




He also did an interview with 60 Minutes a year ago: "Curve Ball" speaks out
posted by homunculus at 4:51 PM on April 3, 2012


True, Sticherbeast, but as a counterpoint:
Baylor beats Notre Dame 80-61 for title

Now, you may say, "But IAmBroom, Levi Johnston knocks up another girl." And I'd have to admit, that's true, but nonetheless, the price of tea is rising in the PRC.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:41 AM on April 4, 2012


IAmBroom, the Chapman stuff was in the linked article itself, which is why I put in the update.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:42 AM on April 4, 2012


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