Tags:


IraqGate history lesson
November 27, 2002 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Lessons From the First Bush/Iraq War

How familiar do these words sound today?
* This year, however, we are wallowing in the sordid aftermath of the revelations of the misguided administration policy that brought about that war. We have been treated to details of how the administration bent over backwards in its misguided effort to support the regime of Saddam Hussein on the very eve of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
......`Public disclosure of classified information harms the national security,' Attorney General William Barr instructed the House Banking Committee last week. `. . . in light of your recent disclosures, the executive branch will not provide any more classified information'--unless the wrongdoing is kept secret. `Your threat to withhold documents,' responded Chairman Gonzalez, `has all the earmarks of a classic effort to obstruct a proper and legitimate investigation . . . none of the documents compromise, in any fashion whatsoever, the national security or intelligence sources and methods.'
.....Policy blunders are not crimes. But perverting the purpose of appropriated funds is a crime; lying to Congress compounds that crime; and obstructing justice to cover up the original crime is a criminal conspiracy


Will we, as a country, learn from our recent history or are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes?
posted by nofundy (49 comments total)

 
Well, judging from recent appointments, I'd say the latter ...
posted by maura at 12:16 PM on November 27, 2002


Finally Hanks got something more than his tired old "peace prize" line to try to pick up the young coeds in Harvard Square!

"Hey baby, don't get mad, I'm just tryink to perform a 9/11 probe!" ba, dum, dum, crash
posted by Pollomacho at 12:32 PM on November 27, 2002


My vote goes with the latter also.
posted by michaelonfs at 12:34 PM on November 27, 2002


Me too... doomed as doomed can be.

But still a nice place to vacation in the winter.
posted by disgruntled at 12:37 PM on November 27, 2002


Funny how you'd hire a Nixon administration shill to probe a cover up. Like hiring an arsonist to guard a gas station!
posted by Pollomacho at 12:39 PM on November 27, 2002


The people who determine American policy were well aware that the US would emerge from WW II as the first global power in history, and during and after the war they were carefully planning how to shape the postwar world. Since this is an open society, we can read their plans, which were very frank and clear.

No matter who we elect, they enact the same old game plan decided long ago.
posted by puddsharp at 12:45 PM on November 27, 2002


Sorry- that 1st paragraph should be in quotes. And credited to Dr. Noam Chomsky.
posted by puddsharp at 12:48 PM on November 27, 2002


I'm wondering if there will ever again be a pendulum swing against a strong executive, in favor of a strong congress. Way back when, from Lincoln to Wilson (not inclusive), presidents often just stood back and let congress run the country.
And yet modern presidents still bemoan that congress is trying to take away their precious power--and declare executive privelege. And when was the last time congress sent some contemptible person to a federal judge for refusing to testify? If they were to send a few recalcitrants to prison, a lot more tongues would be loosened and congress's boat would rise.
posted by kablam at 12:50 PM on November 27, 2002


Funny how you'd hire a Nixon administration shill to probe a cover up. Like hiring an arsonist to guard a gas station!

My sentiments exactly.
posted by Ty Webb at 12:56 PM on November 27, 2002


I should add that I haven't seen much evidence of a cover-up, per se, just a bizarre unwillingness and foot-dragging on the part of the Bush gang to mount any kind of substantive investigation into intelligence failures leading to Sept. 11. Appointing Henry K. to head the panel seems like an obvious "fuck you," too.
posted by Ty Webb at 1:00 PM on November 27, 2002


The cover up must be working then, now to cover up the cover up... next thing you know we've got brainiacs like Liddy breaking into office buildings!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:06 PM on November 27, 2002


As for Kissinger:

I can't wait until the results of this panel are released. If they contain anything damning about the Saudis or other Arabs, it will be dismissed out of hand, since after all, a JEW was the chairman of the panel...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:17 PM on November 27, 2002


(deflecting Steve@Linnwood's clumsy attempt to make ethnicity an issue)

Kissinger's jewish?
posted by Ty Webb at 1:20 PM on November 27, 2002


Steve, I think that may have been the point...
posted by Elim at 1:23 PM on November 27, 2002


Why would Kissinger come out with anything damning against any regime we support? He's only going to "come out with" whatever he's told to come out with! That's the point of the "independent" probe!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:23 PM on November 27, 2002


I am not making an 'ethnicity issue' Webb...

I am not saying Kissinger's faith has anything to do wih the results of the panel. But we all know how our 'friends' in the Arab world belive that the United States (or the West, for that matter) is controled by Jews...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:25 PM on November 27, 2002


Why would Kissinger come out with anything damning against any regime we support? He's only going to "come out with" whatever he's told to come out with! That's the point of the "independent" probe!

Oh, yeah I forgot.... Stupid Bush! What a moron....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:25 PM on November 27, 2002


Ty: yes he is (from the frightening site Jew Watch).
posted by turbodog at 1:29 PM on November 27, 2002


But we all know how our 'friends' in the Arab world belive that the United States (or the West, for that matter) is controled by Jews...

Oh, pish and piffle. Kissinger could be a card-carrying Satanist, and it would still have no relevance on the fact that he has the biggest claim of all post-war 'statesmen' to have turned state-sponsored terrorism into an artform.

Perhaps Bush has a more nuanced sense of irony than we thought. All I can say is that if you see Christopher Hitchens slumped comatose in a DC bar this evening, you'll know why: but don't offer to help him up.
posted by riviera at 1:33 PM on November 27, 2002


Ty: yes he is

Thanks, turbodog, I'm aware of it. My fault for failing to add sarcasm tags earlier.

Steve: But we all know how our 'friends' in the Arab world belive that the United States (or the West, for that matter) is controled by Jews...

Do you think the response would be any different if the commission were headed by a non-jew?
posted by Ty Webb at 1:34 PM on November 27, 2002


All I can say is that if you see Christopher Hitchens slumped comatose in a DC bar this evening, you'll know why

riviera: If I see Christopher Hitchens slumped comatose in a DC bar the only thing I'll know is that it's after 12 noon. :D
posted by Ty Webb at 1:37 PM on November 27, 2002


Why would Kissinger come out with anything damning against any regime we support? He's only going to "come out with" whatever he's told to come out with! That's the point of the "independent" probe!

I don't recall mentioning Bush in the previous statement? Why try to derail this statement by trying to point it back to another [deleted] thread (which I chose to avoid this time around thank you)? Too close to the truth?

Hiring Kissinger almost begs the Democrats to differ with the probes findings, this of course would lead to them being painted as unAmerican, communist pink-o, hippie, perverts though, so they just have to sit there impotent and take it with those dumbass grins like a possum eating shit saying stuff like, "what a great job Dr. Kissinger did on his report!"
posted by Pollomacho at 1:43 PM on November 27, 2002


Well, I guess Kissinger is certainly qualified, he does know an awful lot about terrorism after all./sarcasm
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:15 PM on November 27, 2002


In other news, Warren to investigate JFK assassination

Wolf to investigate sheep slayings

Bankrobbers to investigate string of bank robberies

If Bush had nothing to hide then he wouldn't appoint somebody like Kissenger to 'whitewash' 9/11
posted by RobbieFal at 2:16 PM on November 27, 2002


Well, it's almost unanimous then!

I get all suspicious when the FPP says; "will we, as a country learn...blah blah blah".

I certainly don't think "as a country", and wonder by what skewed logic one can accuse Kissinger of "war crimes", yet actual criminals like the Viet Cong, Hussein and Arafat are "fighting against opression" and are therefore blameless.
May as well throw Mumia and Che Guevara in there too, just to empty out all the Marxist pet cliches.
posted by hama7 at 3:57 PM on November 27, 2002


I certainly don't think "as a country"

Quite right: that's exactly one syllable from the truth.
posted by riviera at 4:02 PM on November 27, 2002


by what skewed logic one can accuse Kissinger of "war crimes", yet actual criminals like the Viet Cong, Hussein and Arafat are "fighting against opression" and are therefore blameless.

Ahhh, the sweet smell of straw. FYI, I recognize the crimes of all of the above, and think that Saddam and Arafat should be in the dock right next to Henry K. Maybe they can all share a cell (I predict that Saddam will be the butch, Arafat the bitch, and Henry will play them against each other for control of the top bunk). The relevant point is that Henry's crimes shouldn't be excused simply because he's on the winning side.
posted by Ty Webb at 4:20 PM on November 27, 2002


by what skewed logic one can accuse Kissinger of "war crimes", yet actual criminals like the Viet Cong, Hussein and Arafat are "fighting against opression" and are therefore blameless.

By the logic that he argued for and engineered military strikes against civilians.

I agree though that his appointment to an "Independant" commission is pretty ridiculous.
posted by aaronscool at 4:32 PM on November 27, 2002


Ha, riviera, you should give partial credit to Dorothy Parker for that: Ducking for apples--change one letter and that's the story of my life.
posted by y2karl at 4:46 PM on November 27, 2002


I can't believe I'm agreeing with Steve_at_Linnwood here:

I can't wait until the results of this panel are released. If they contain anything damning about the Saudis or other Arabs, it will be dismissed out of hand, since after all, a JEW was the chairman of the panel...

I think what Steve is getting at (as always, correct me if I'm wrong) is that no matter what the commission's report says, it will most likely encounter severe opposition (or outright dismissal) in the Arab world because Kissinger is Jewish.

Not to get into Kissinger's failings (Ty Webb, among others, has done a great and hilarious job of that already), but if the report is dismissed around the world, it should be because of its contents rather than its author's religion.
posted by Vidiot at 4:55 PM on November 27, 2002


Yes, Vidiot that was exactly what I was saying....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 6:32 PM on November 27, 2002


By the logic that he argued for and engineered military strikes against civilians.

Yes, but not a single example in the link you provided proved that Kissinger was directly responsible for anything resembling "arguing for" or "engineering" civilian strikes.

For example, according to the very source you linked, here was the extent of Kissinger's involvement in East Timor:"Kissinger told reporters the U.S. wouldn't recognize the tiny country of East Timor, which had recently won independence from the Portuguese. Within hours Suharto launched an invasion, killing, by some estimates, 200,000 civilians.".

"Argued for",? "Engineered"? Hardly incriminating, in fact. And how is Kissinger responsible for Suharto-ordered killing, and not Suharto?
posted by hama7 at 6:54 PM on November 27, 2002


For example, according to the very source you linked, here was the extent of Kissinger's involvement in East Timor.

Oh dear. It's a little bit embarrassing to quote from something that's plainly described as a 'sidebar' as if it stated the entirety of the case for Kissinger's close involvement in giving the green light to Suharto ("It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly... We would be able to influence the reaction if whatever happens, happens after we return.... If you have made plans, we will do our best to keep everyone quiet until the President returns home.") and then continuing to back the supply of US weaponry to Suharto, "illegally and beautifully", after the desired 'quick' campaign turned into a bloody drawn-out occupation, and even during Congressional demands for a moratorium.

Gosh, even if you're unsure whether April Glaspie gave Saddam the thumbs-up for Kuwait, a brief scan of the declassified docs on East Timor won't leave you much wiggle-room with respect to Kissinger's role.
posted by riviera at 7:15 PM on November 27, 2002


Fair enough.

But my point is that there's a kind of dual personality at work here too, in that within the anti-globalization-stop-USA-imperialism camp there exists the "global village" ideal, and that those who ravenously oppose the US as a 'world police' entity also hold the US leaders responsible for atrocities committed by leaders of autonomous nations, acting independently. It's as if the left is shouting "Stop interfering!" and "Interfere or you're accountable!" simultaneously. But, if there exists an obvious vendetta against the US anyway, both will do.

If I give you permission to use my car, and you use it to run over the mailman, am I criminally liable for your actions?

Since the thread is "Iraqgate": If the US interferes with Hussein, any action is maligned as "imperialism" and a capitalistic grope for oil, yet if, in a year's time Iraq shoots missiles at Israel (again) or others, the US will be criticized for not interfering soon enough to stop a known maniac.

It's six of one and half-a-you know the rest.
posted by hama7 at 7:49 PM on November 27, 2002


Doofus hegemon have a headache.
posted by Opus Dark at 8:20 PM on November 27, 2002


If I give you permission to use my car, and you use it to run over the mailman, am I criminally liable for your actions?

Is your car an illegally-exported munition? (The deal with Indonesia was to supply weapons for self-defence purposes only.) If so, I'll decline your kind offer. Unsafe at all speeds and all that.

It's as if the left is shouting "Stop interfering!" and "Interfere or you're accountable!" simultaneously.

Only if stuff your ears with tissues. See, there was this thing the Blair government talked about, which was an 'ethical foreign policy'. Turned out to be a pile of shit, of course, but it got people thinking about what that entailed. And perhaps with the USA, it's the idea that those people who apparently 'hate [y]our freedoms', to paraphrase the clarion call of the right, have not necessarily seen those freedoms demonstrated on their front porches.

Suharto said to Ford, there's this corner of SE Asia that's gaining its colonial freedom (ding! ding! 1776, and all that?) but the people behind the independence movement are filthy Commies; would you be annoyed if we sent in the troops to ensure that they're, um, properly taken care of? And Kissinger says, oh, okay, just don't make it a messy job. Or as Macbeth says, "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly." And it turns into a messy job, which Kissinger actually sustains. Now, the reasonable policy would have been, 'How about if you let the East Timorese do the independence thing, and we'll deal with any threat to you, if and when it emerges, based on our own intelligence.'

As for Iraq, I can draw a line under the small matter of abetting Saddam through the 1980s. But the role of the US in early 1990 was to say, 'actually, we do respect Kuwait's territorial integrity, because respecting the territorial integrity of all states [including Israel] is a tenet of our foreign policy'. And after 1991 was to say to the Kuwaitis: 'hey, we saved your hides; how about a free election or two? And with women voting, please?'

Or as football pundits say about referees, what infuriates players most of all is inconsistency.
posted by riviera at 8:42 PM on November 27, 2002


Don't forget that George Mitchell has been put on the commission by the Democrats. Republicans have 5 choices (including the Chairman) and the Democrats have 5.

Those that forget history are doomed to repeat it, but those that do remember history are doomed to repeat it to others. :)
posted by infowar at 8:44 PM on November 27, 2002


...even if you're unsure whether April Glaspie gave Saddam the thumbs-up for Kuwait...

riviera, I haven't been able to find any evidence for that beyond the word *coughcough* of the Iraqi government. If you have anything more credible, please come forward with it.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:10 PM on November 27, 2002


Now, the reasonable policy would have been, 'How about if you let the East Timorese do the independence thing, and we'll deal with any threat to you, if and when it emerges, based on our own intelligence.'

But as you yourself said, the leaders of the independence movement were, in this case, 'filthy commies' which in and of themselves presented as much a threat to Suharto and Indonesia as the North Vietnamese did to the South, as North Korea did to South Korea, and as Russia did to the west at the time. A forced 'independence movement' by genocidal communist dictators is not morally comparable to an independence movement for a free democratic republic.

So weapons were sent to Indonesia for 'self defense purposes only' but they were misused by the Suharto military. This is exactly my point.
posted by hama7 at 9:18 PM on November 27, 2002


...Suharto said to Ford, there's this corner of SE Asia that's gaining its colonial freedom (ding! ding! 1776, and all that?) but the people behind the independence movement are filthy Commies...//...But as you yourself said, the leaders of the independence movement were, in this case, 'filthy commies'...

Stop playing distortionist, hama7, it's not convincing anyone: riviera was speaking in the voice of a vicious dictator who believed it was acceptable to kill people for their political beliefs (like believing in self-determination, and - allegedly- communism).

Can we just agree on one thing: it's not ok to kill communists for being communists. In europe, we protect speech... including unpopular speech, like the right to be a communist. Surprisingly, not everyone believes that in order to defeat an ideology, you need to exterminate its adherents.
posted by dash_slot- at 1:13 AM on November 28, 2002


Can we just agree on one thing: it's not ok to kill communists for being communists.

Wholehearted agreement here, and I never said that misuse of weapons to kill civilians was o.k. either, nor am I trying to distort words.

I am making the observation that Suharto made a big mistake, possibly trying to prevent even greater bloodshed as in the cases of Viet Nam, Cambodia, North Korea, Communist China, and Stalinist Russia to communist thugs who do (and did) believe that in order to defeat an idealogy or to further the communist idealogy, that you need to exterminate its adherents.

It's still happening on an alarmingly regular basis, and has naught to do with Kissinger.
posted by hama7 at 1:51 AM on November 28, 2002


A forced 'independence movement' by genocidal communist dictators is not morally comparable to an independence movement for a free democratic republic.

A piece of faulty, partisan reasoning is not comparable to anything remotely connected to the facts, either. You. Are. Full. Of. Shit. The East Timorese independence movement threatened precisely nobody: not even paranoid stuck-record weasel-mouthed wingnuts like yourself.

I am making the observation that Suharto made a big mistake, possibly trying to prevent even greater bloodshed as in the cases of Viet Nam, Cambodia, North Korea, Communist China, and Stalinist Russia to communist thugs who do (and did) believe that in order to defeat an idealogy or to further the communist idealogy, that you need to exterminate its adherents.

Suharto was just a misguided warrior of peace, then, rather than a fucking murderous dictator who was cossetted and armed by all the world's democracies, even as he wiped out one third of East Timor's population, while erasing his political enemies inside Indonesia proper? It's a question of killing the Timorese (who were and are Christian, by the way) for their own good? I never knew that genocide was actually humanitarianism.

And the potential bloodiness of the rag-tag-and-bobtail Timorese independence movement is to be compared to... Maoist China? Stalinist Russia? And not to, um, Suhartoist Indonesia?

Wow. Woo-hoo. Give me some of that revisionist history crack you're smoking. Or are you just talking more 'country wisdom', in the hope of getting the call from Henry K?

In the meantime, get some fucking perspective and a clue transplant.
posted by riviera at 7:29 AM on November 28, 2002


I haven't been able to find any evidence for that beyond the word *coughcough* of the Iraqi government. If you have anything more credible, please come forward with it.

Slithy_Tove, that was why I said 'unsure' in the first place. Congratulations on failing the comprehension test.
posted by riviera at 7:32 AM on November 28, 2002


riviera: Step out from behind all that snark for a minute. Actually take a position, say what you believe, and stand behind it. This isn't the first time you've mentioned those Iraqi allegations. It's time to defend what you've been saying, or recant.

Do you believe the Iraqi government report of that meeting? And if you do, why? Do you really believe the US gave Iraq the go-ahead to attack Kuwait?

I'm not unsure at all. I think it's tripe. I think it's tripe because a) there is no credible evidence that it happened, and b) it's not a position that there is any reason for the US to take. And because it's tripe, I think you should stop repeating it, unless you can defend it, or give some more reliable source for it.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:01 AM on November 28, 2002


And because it's tripe, I think you should stop repeating it, unless you can defend it, or give some more reliable source for it.

Ooh, stick you. I don't think I've ever seen a convincing refutation. I presume that the US diplomatic staff take minutes of their meetings? In which case, there should be contemporary documentation in the State Department archives sitting there, which can mend Ms Glaspie's reputation. Perhaps we can look at her informal chat with the Senate Foreign Relations committee, where she 'denounced the Iraqi transcript as "a fabrication" that distorted her position, though it contained "a great deal" that was accurate.' (Curious logic, that: a fabrication containing a great deal of accurate material?) Or perhaps at her slightly indiscreet comment to journalists, that 'Obviously, I didn't think, and nobody else did, that the Iraqis were going to take ALL of Kuwait.'

As I said, there are copious State Dept archive documents to show Kissinger's role in East Timor, which puts it well beyond a doubt; are there similar documents to vindicate Ms Glaspie? Perhaps not, if we're to believed what was reported by the New York Times and New Republic in 1991.

In other words, stop fucking yaddering.
posted by riviera at 9:59 AM on November 28, 2002


Your links are helpful. Ramsey Clark has gone off the deep end, and I can hardly take him at his word, but there are some references to an article in the NYT which should be obtainable, and an article by Sydney Blumenthal in the New Republic. Blumenthal, too, is not an objective source, he is a rabid Democratic partisan and a hatchet man for the Clinton administration, but the article might be worth tracking down.

It is not 'fucking yaddering' to ask you to produce evidence to support an important accusation. You should be pleased to do so. But if you have to scramble to cover, you raise doubts about your credibility.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:34 AM on November 28, 2002


     Freep!
              Freep!
     Freep!

Freep!
Freep!
       Freep!

posted by y2karl at 9:05 PM on November 28, 2002


oops! wrong thread!

Well, that's how I do things: test the links in another thread.
Only here I hit post instead of preview. Silly me.
posted by y2karl at 9:30 PM on November 28, 2002


y2karl: If you insist on making these outlandish overtures, and following my every post harpy-like with insults, attacks and diatribes as the *Swedish Chef*, I can really do nothing but sit back and laugh. Honestly, you are doing nothing but mugging and hooting.

Calling me a "lying shit weasel" (as you did in the fifth 'freep' menu) does wonders for your credibility and will certainly encourage people to take you seriously in the future.

I have done the stand-up thing to prevent this kind of bandwidth waste by e-mailing you yesterday, politely requesting you to dial it down with the nonsense and inane ad hominem attacks, and asking that if you must attack me personally, then at least do it by e-mail so that every MetaFilter member does not, by necessity, have to read your asinine interjections.

Since you did not respond, and instead have decided to increase your shrill hysterics, you have convinced me that you are not interested in civility or discourse, and instead would rather just read your own guttural bayings and count the number of them on some other website, apropos of nothing.
posted by hama7 at 9:45 PM on November 28, 2002


« Older Are Online Depression Quizzes Depressingly Useless...  |  Slimeball!!!!!... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments