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Re-thinking the Iraq/al-Qaeda connection
February 3, 2003 11:53 PM   Subscribe

In what might be a preview of Secretary of State Powell's address to the United Nations tomorrow, Jeffrey Goldberg takes a look at how the Intelligence Community is re-thinking it's analysis of the Iraq/al-Qaeda connection.

Excerpt:
James Woolsey, who served as President Clinton's first C.I.A. director, said that it is now illogical to doubt the notion that Saddam collaborates with Islamist terrorism, and that he would provide chemical or biological weapons to Al Qaeda. "At Salman Pak"-a training camp near Baghdad-"we know there were Islamist terrorists training to hijack airplanes in groups of four or five with short knives," Woolsey told me. "I mean, hello? If we had seen after December 7, 1941, a fake American battleship in a lake in northern Italy, and a group of Asian pilots training there, would we have said, 'Well, you can't prove that they were Japanese'?"
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood (69 comments total)

 
Robert Gates, who was C.I.A. director under George H. W. Bush, said that the evidence linking Saddam to Al Qaeda is not irrefutable, but he noted that ambiguous evidence is an occupational hazard in intelligence work. Gates suggested that the current debate over Iraq's ties to terrorism is reminiscent of a debate about the Soviet Union twenty years ago. Then, he said, "you had analysts in the C.I.A. who said, 'Absolutely not, it would be contrary to their interests to support unpredictable, uncontrollable groups.' There were other analysts who said, 'Baloney.' They had a lot of good history, and circumstantial reporting on their side, but they didn't have good evidence. Once the Soviet Union collapsed, and we got hold of the East German Stasi records, we learned, of course, that both the East Germans and the Soviets were supporting Baader-Meinhof and other terrorist groups."

Gates continued, "I have always argued, in light of my fairly detailed knowledge of the shortcomings of our intelligence capabilities, that the fact that we don't have reliable human intelligence that proves something conclusively is happening is no proof at all that nothing is happening. In these situations, the evidence will almost always be ambiguous. On capabilities, it's not ambiguous. Can Saddam produce these weapons of mass destruction? Yes."

The ambiguity, Gates said, has to do with "intentions," and he went on, "If the stakes and the consequences are small, you're going to want ninety-per-cent assurance. It's a risk calculus. On the other hand, if your worry is along the lines of what Rumsfeld is saying—another major attack on the U.S., possibly with biological or chemical weapons—and you look at the consequences of September 11th, then the equation of risk changes. You have to be prepared to go forward with a lot lower level of confidence in the evidence you have. A fifty-per-cent chance of such an attack happening is so terrible that it changes the calculation of risk."


Draw what conclusions you may, it is an excellent article either way...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:58 PM on February 3, 2003


Indeed.
posted by y2karl at 12:23 AM on February 4, 2003


Well, I'm sure the UN will buy this argument.

"It seems like the kinda thing saddam might do. Therefore, he must be doing it!"
posted by delmoi at 1:11 AM on February 4, 2003


In other words, "we don't have a clue, so we're going to guess that Iraq has links with Al-Qaeda". Give me a break. This is just an example of the US administration desperately trying to find a justification.
posted by salmacis at 1:12 AM on February 4, 2003


Ever heard of the link between Iraq and Cuba?

Here's more on Salman Pak. And another link here.

Also: "Salman Pak - Iraq's Own Terrorist Training Camp"

Nice find, Steve.
posted by hama7 at 1:28 AM on February 4, 2003


"the contingency that would be most likely to motivate Saddam to develop a relationship with radical Islamists that would be deeper than limited tactical cooperation would be a belief that he was about to lose power" (Paul Pillar, National Intelligence Officer for the Middle East)
posted by eddydamascene at 1:34 AM on February 4, 2003


"It seems like the kinda thing saddam might do. Therefore, he must be doing it!"

It is a little bit more complex than that....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:48 AM on February 4, 2003


The burden of proof on this whole thing always make me feel a bit uneasy - we'll assume that they must be involved unless they can prove that they're not. Like if the inspectors find nothing it's proof that Iraq is hiding stuff, if they find something it's proof that they're guilty....
posted by brettski at 2:04 AM on February 4, 2003


"The Defense Department had asked Shelton and Carney to reëxamine evidence collected by the C.I.A. about the relationship between terrorist networks and their state sponsors, including Iraq and Al Qaeda, and to re-analyze the data in the manner suggested by Rumsfeld's ballistic-missile-threat commission; that is, to build a hypothesis, and then see if the data supported the hypothesis, rather than the reverse."
posted by timb at 2:42 AM on February 4, 2003


- we'll assume that they must be involved unless they can prove that they're not.

The irony is: we already know exactly how involved they are.
posted by hama7 at 2:43 AM on February 4, 2003


Woolsey has been peddling the Iraqi involvement in 9-11 and other Al Qaeda operations since day one, as you can read here
And more recently here

Funny how Woolsey is a big fan of Laurie Mylroie's work (she thinks Saddam is behind every bad thing that ever happened in the last 10 years, including Oklahoma City, the first WTC attack and the anthrax scare, a few earthquakes and bad weather on weekends), along with Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz.

More on the Wolfowitz-Perle-Mylroie axis in this old NYTimes profile of Wolfowitz (link to a googled Usenet reprint, no need to be NYT registered users)
relevant passage:
Friends of Wolfowitz's say his initial reaction was that
Iraq was probably a party to the attacks. He had already
studied the work of Laurie Mylroie, an investigator who has
labored to connect Iraq to earlier terrorist attacks,
including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and
now an ardent student of clues connecting Saddam to Sept. 11. The Clinton administration treated Mylroie as, in her words, ''a nut case,'' but Wolfowitz -- then spending the Clinton years as dean of the prestigious School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins -- listened to her 90-minute briefing on the evidence trail and wrote a sympathetic blurb for her book blaming Iraq for the first trade-center attack. After Sept. 11, he encouraged his friend R. James Woolsey, the former C.I.A. director, to
visit England as a consultant to a Justice Department
mission and sniff out evidence of Iraqi connections.
Woolsey contends that evidence connecting Iraq with
terrorist assaults on America, while circumstantial, is
''about as clear as these things get.'' Few others go that
far, Wolfowitz included. He can describe the evidence in
detail, the clandestine meetings between Iraqi intelligence
and figures who may have been Al Qaeda operatives, and says he finds it intriguing but not conclusive.


Woolsey also used to be a fan of William Safire's favorite allegation, the alleged Atta-Iraqi spy meeting in Prague.

"Draw what conclusions you may, it is an excellent article either way..."Steve reports, we decide!
posted by matteo at 3:29 AM on February 4, 2003


Funny how Woolsey is a big fan of Laurie Mylroie's work (she thinks Saddam is behind every bad thing that ever happened in the last 10 years, including Oklahoma City, the first WTC attack and the anthrax scare, a few earthquakes and bad weather on weekends), along with Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz.

There are Oklahoma City suspicions galore, which have been discussed over and over and over again.

No matter whether it's presented like a mallet on the noggin, it's as if the information is being purposefully ignored, despite the equivalent of a megaphone shrieking it into your very ears.
posted by hama7 at 4:26 AM on February 4, 2003


he's everywhere! he's everywhere! there was a terrible multiple car accident on the freeway here that bears all the hallmarks of a hussein operation. and you remember them watergate burglars? poor nixon.
posted by quonsar at 5:22 AM on February 4, 2003


The burden of proof on this whole thing always make me feel a bit uneasy

Again, evidence of the lengths some people will go to avoid admitting that a President and administration they don't like is doing the right thing.

Saddam has already killed over a million people. He has been shown to have had large stockpiles of bio and chem weapons, with, at least efforts for nuclear weapons. Tons of the WMDs, capable of killing millions more, remain unaccounted for. Addams has violated more than a dozen UN resolutions.

The burden of proof, the assumption of Saddam's "innocence" and right to be in power, shifted long ago, and now falls on him. Why can't you grasp that? Why, at the very least, is his future torture, murder and rape less offensive to you than a US liberation of the country?
posted by ParisParamus at 5:46 AM on February 4, 2003


hahahahahahaha.

Sorry, but it's FUNNY how this type of information gets spread, virus-like, just when Bushie and the hawks are trying to manipulate, uh, I mean "inform" world opinion. Why don´t they just stick to "we are going after Hussein because we want to and nobody can do anything about it, so f*ck of world" tact? All of this weak, often obviously false, "evidence" is insulting to even a moderate intelligence.
posted by sic at 5:50 AM on February 4, 2003


I think that the combination of hypothesis-based analysis and the fact that analysts have been encouraged to extend themselves, to lower the threshold for what is credible basically means that they can 'prove' whatever they want with minimal evidence in order to come to the conclusion that they want.

It is interesting that the role of 'intelligence' is becoming one of justification rather than of discovery.

----------

Q. How can one nation (US) with a documented history of funding and supporting terrorists feel comfortable using another's similar behaviour (Iraq, Syria, ...) as a reason for military action?

A. We are not talking 'reason' (trigger) here, it is all about justification, for political / PR purposes.
posted by daveg at 6:24 AM on February 4, 2003


He has been shown to have had large stockpiles of bio and chem weapons, with, at least efforts for nuclear weapons. Tons of the WMDs, capable of killing millions more, remain unaccounted for.


meanwhile in the US and UK....
posted by brettski at 6:41 AM on February 4, 2003


I hope the United States (and the UK) have weapons of mass destruction, and a robust supply of nuclear weapons. Because, overall, I trust these nations not to commit national, or world suicide. I don't trust Saddam Hussein, or Kim...whatever the fuck his name is.

What a stupid, delluded that link that is.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:50 AM on February 4, 2003


Steve - good link, thanks.
posted by vito90 at 6:51 AM on February 4, 2003


The arguements here all seem to be whether or not Saddam and gang works with terror group(s). But if we assume that there is no evidence of this, the administration still wants to go after Irq for violting terms of cease fire (Gulf War and UN), and to prevent them from manurfacturing WMD. The terror thing a bit of topping to the rest. As for helping terrorgroups: Saddam has been very public about rewarding 25,000 bucks to Palestinian sucide bombers. And Hamas a top group on terror list for US.
As for our intelligence: what bothers me is that we seem incapable of firing the top guys, in FBI or CIA or NSA when they are in charge of an operation that is a clear failure. Now you can justify what they did etc but the public needs to know that changes are to be made, and the best way for this is to change leadership.
As for what we aredojg these days, try this:http://www.washtimes.com/national/20030204-79888.htm
posted by Postroad at 6:54 AM on February 4, 2003


Saddam has already killed over a million people. He has been shown to have had large stockpiles of bio and chem weapons, with, at least efforts for nuclear weapons. Tons of the WMDs, capable of killing millions more, remain unaccounted for. Addams has violated more than a dozen UN resolutions.

Perhaps it is a bit of skepticism that after more than a decade of successful containment that a "liberation" campaign based on mass murder is warranted against Iraq but not warranted against other terrorist-supporting regimes (some of them our allies.) The question is not about Saddam's innocence but that of our own regime given its chronic problems with honesty.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:02 AM on February 4, 2003


Rumsfeld gave me a copy of some aphorisms he had collected during the process of assessing the ballistic-missile threat. "Some of these are humorous," he said, not quite accurately. One was "There are knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns." (The saying is attributed, naturally, to "Unknown.") "I think this construct is just powerful," Rumsfeld said. "The unknown unknowns, we do not even know we don't know them."

that just sounds really bad to me.....anyone else?

i thought the article was great and as a person who is on the fence with regards to attacking iraq, i found some of the arguments put forth by rumsfeld to be persuasive. but the bottom line is *people are going to die* because of our actions. and if people are going to die because rumsfeld happens to think that saddam is an 'unknown unknown', well that just doesn't sit right. we're talking about peoples' lives here, our soldiers and their people. some think tank using 'unknown unknowns' to justify that is pretty shady to me.
posted by oliver_crunk at 7:03 AM on February 4, 2003


So the whole article is in italics?
posted by Outlawyr at 7:19 AM on February 4, 2003


Rumsfeld has a way with words. But he's only making explicit that which goes into any cost-benefit assessment. I psychology, I believe the terms are conscious ignorance and unconscious ignorance?

But people are going to die if we do not act. So it's more a question of who and how many will die in a war v. in the future years and decades of regimes led by Hussein and his sons. Plus, perhaps, those deaths in Syria and other countries which will or will not take place by leaders emboldened or not emboldened by are action/inaction.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:21 AM on February 4, 2003


i suppose that's another 'unknown unknown' paris.

hey what happens when a couple thausand of our troops get gassed and killed because of our quest to rid 'unknown unknowns'?
posted by oliver_crunk at 7:29 AM on February 4, 2003


hey what happens when a couple thausand of our troops get gassed and killed because of our quest to rid 'unknown unknowns'?

Several things. First, the weenies here and elsewhere who are so convinced that Saddam isn't that dangerous will hopefully reconsider their view and feel shame.

Second, perhaps tactical nuclear weapons being fired at Iraq?
posted by ParisParamus at 7:50 AM on February 4, 2003


"I hope the United States (and the UK) have weapons of mass destruction, and a robust supply of nuclear weapons. Because, overall, I trust these nations not to commit national, or world suicide. I don't trust Saddam Hussein, or Kim...whatever the fuck his name is.

What a stupid, deluded that link that is."

ParisParamus---------------------------------

You don't trust these nations to not commit national or world suicide. What actions, not alleged, do you believe demonstrates that either S.H. or Kim are suicidal? I contend the opposite. S.H. and Kim are the definition of dictators that know how to hold on to power.

By attacking the United States they are guaranteeing the demise of their rule. If they cannot destroy our entire nation there will be reprisals to any action we can link to them. Do you honestly think that Iraq and Korea want to take that kind of hit for the rest of the enemies of the United States. I contend that the actions of their leaders demonstrates that they are not.

That isn't to say they won't posture or make aggressive statements or stands against the U.S. in order to make us look bad to the global community as well as appease their constituencies nationalistic tendencies.

This still doesn't mean they are suicidal.

It is obvious S.H. is our enemy. It is not so obvious that war is the best solution to the equation that is S.H.

As for the article above, it should be no surprise that the current administration is going to attack one of the main justifications of the left for not linking Al Quaida and S.H.

This is all the same information we had before this article came out. The only difference is that we are closer to war with Iraq then we were before and S.H. knows this. The article itself says that S.H. will work with terrorists if we don't give him any other choice.

So, say we go to war and then find out he was working with terrorists. Isn't this a self-fullfilling prophecy?

Are you arguing that the push to war doesn't color/change peoples perspective?

By initiating a policy of preemptive strike against a nation aren't we setting a precedent for the rest of the world? What is to stop our enemies (nations) from doing the same to us?

Why did only 8 european nations openly voice their support for the United States in this endeavor? I would assume that these nations would have informed their neighbors about this action and have invited them to do the same.
posted by Wong Fei-hung at 7:51 AM on February 4, 2003


There is a difference between inaction and proposing an alternative to war.
posted by Wong Fei-hung at 7:54 AM on February 4, 2003


The irony is: we already know exactly how involved they are.

Who is "we"?

Several things. First, the weenies here and elsewhere who are so convinced that Saddam isn't that dangerous will hopefully reconsider their view and feel shame.

The funny thing about you, ParisParamus, is that you act as though you're actually trying to marginalize yourself. As far as I can tell you don't want conversation, and it's not even clear whether you want to communicate your opinions. Why don't you try presenting arguments for your point of view, or talking about the philosophical roots of your particular viewpoint, instead of just swaggering around, lording your direct connection with President Bush over the rest of the us? I'd still disagree with you, but at least your posts would be interesting.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:00 AM on February 4, 2003


bzzzzt. wrong. take another ticket and go to the back of the line.

george w. bush doesn't get re-elected and although we oust saddam we 're-think' our military strategy of attacking based on 'unknown unknown'.

hey saddam is a bad dude, but seriously, i can't believe that our leaders and others who have bright minds think that people who oppose these actions against iraq are 'weenies'.

i say: what if a couple thousand troops die.

paris paramus: weenies! nukes!

its comforting to know that rumsfeld not only adheres to that 'unknown' strategy when it comes to intelligence but that he also thinks it's humorous.
posted by oliver_crunk at 8:04 AM on February 4, 2003


I have no connection with the Administration; I don't even like the administration; it's just that in comparison to Hussein, the side to be on is clear, and vehement opposition to the policy is troubling.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:29 AM on February 4, 2003


Paris...can you get mean autograph of dubya?.

S.H. and Kim are the definition of dictators that know how to hold on to power.

moot point. I believe one of the prerequisites for "dictator" (from my 'How to be a dictator for Dummies') is to hold and maintain power...at all costs. It is the dictators job.

The real hair up everyones ass is that if we or a friend gets hit with say....small pox...who do we destroy?...for that i assume one needs a list. So, small pox hits our country. well, we just destroy those people who kept small pox. If there are say 4 countries, we destroy them all. That simple and that makes other countries nervous....and they frikkin better be shaken in there boots....see, this is why all that former soviet shit worried me. By going broke and feigning the ole tin cup and cane they create a plausible deniability. "oh...that was general stupakov who stole that....he's dead now so i don't know what we can do"

"I have a suggestion to keep you all occupied..."
learn to swim....learn to swim."
-Tool
posted by clavdivs at 8:37 AM on February 4, 2003


At this point I think it is reasonable to conclude that Saddam has connections to international Islamic terrorism, if not to 9/11. What makes me uncomfortable are the ever-shifting proofs offered by the Bush Gang, and "secret intelligence" constantly alluded to but never quite produced. To play the fear game as they have shows a total disrespect for democratic process.

Slightly off topic, I'd like to point out that if we could establish as much of a connection between Saddam and 9/11 as has already been established between Henry Kissinger and the Pinochet coup/atrocities, our rangers would be sipping Bud longnecks in Baghdad right now.
posted by Ty Webb at 8:42 AM on February 4, 2003


too right, kim deal should be wiped out,
the last breeders album sucked.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:26 AM on February 4, 2003


What makes me uncomfortable are the ever-shifting proofs offered by the Bush Gang, and "secret intelligence" constantly alluded to but never quite produced.

Be sure you're not confusing various media stories about Al Qaeda-9/11 connections with what the Administration has claimed. The administration has never relied on a connection as a cause to take out Saddam. At this juncture, the only vital connection is that 9/11 raised the terrorism bar. Terrorism relies on shock, and 9/11 is the new standard. It won't be before Saddam is killed or imprisoned, or driven out of the country the any true connection is demonstrated. Or perhaps the word is revealed. rather than demonstrated: as with much of the predicate for the imminent war, I suspect any known connection is being kept secret in order to keep Baghdad in the dark.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:41 AM on February 4, 2003


Why don't you try presenting arguments for your point of view, or talking about the philosophical roots of your particular viewpoint, instead of just swaggering around, lording your direct connection with President Bush over the rest of the us?

By the way, when have I ever done this? My views are a reflection of the war/no war arguments I've read in the press.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:47 AM on February 4, 2003


Who cares whether there's an al-Qaeda/Hussein connection? Not the White House, except as the excuse-of-the-week why invading Iraq is more important than anything else on earth.

Bush et al wanted to blow up Saddam before 9.11. The only difference 9.11 made was that it provided the White House with the fear and confusion it needed in the American populace to carry out their desires.

Invading Iraq not a new idea for Bush clique: 4 years before 9/11, plan was set
posted by sacre_bleu at 9:56 AM on February 4, 2003


Moreover, I've sited numberous facts: demonstrated weapons caches never destroyed; millions dead dead; wars started; WMDs used; suicide bomber funding provided. Where are the facts, your facts, that supporting the proposition that Saddam Hussein is not a madman with a bank account who should be defanged? Where is the lovely, stable, humaine region of the world that you are so concerned about preserving?
posted by ParisParamus at 10:00 AM on February 4, 2003


Invading Iraq not a new idea for Bush clique: 4 years before 9/11, plan was set

Why does this make the idea less legitimate?
posted by ParisParamus at 10:42 AM on February 4, 2003


Paris:Be sure you're not confusing various media stories about Al Qaeda-9/11 connections with what the Administration has claimed.

Thanks, I am sure. The administration has constantly claimed a Saddam- al Qaeda connection with the clear intent of making a moral and emotional connection between Saddam and 9/11.

"He is a danger not only to countries in the region but, as I explained last night, because of his al Qaeda connections, because of his history, he is a danger to Americans," Bush said, referring to Tuesday's State of the Union address. "And we're going to deal with him. We're going to deal with him before it's too late."

-Bush, 1/30/03

Paris:The administration has never relied on a connection as a cause to take out Saddam.

They may have not relied on a 9/11 connection as the sole cause, but they certainly continue to dangle the possibility of a connection as one of the causes, in a shameful and disrespectful (to the 9/11 victims) appeal to fear.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:46 AM on February 4, 2003


Fascinating article Steve, thanks.

The evolution of Tenet's beliefs has made those opposed to an invasion of Iraq uneasy. Senator Graham thinks that the C.I.A.'s "evolved" understanding of the Iraq-Al Qaeda connection is the result of pressure from Rumsfeld. "Maybe the C.I.A. has been coöpted in this whole thing," Graham told me. "I'm not personalizing it to George, but institutionally the C.I.A. is being challenged by a very aggressive Defense Department."

On this subject, I recommend this article: "The Pentagon Muzzles the CIA".
posted by homunculus at 11:17 AM on February 4, 2003


Invading Iraq not a new idea for Bush clique: 4 years before 9/11, plan was set

Why does this make the idea less legitimate?

Because the White House today cites Iraq's supposed al-Qaeda ties as a reason to invade. When in fact, Bush's ideological companions had set the goal of invading Iraq years earlier.

Trumpeting alleged al-Qaeda ties as a reason for attacking Iraq is a pretext.
posted by sacre_bleu at 11:21 AM on February 4, 2003


"Split at C.I.A. and F.B.I. on Iraqi Ties to Al Qaeda".
posted by homunculus at 11:25 AM on February 4, 2003


"Moreover, I've sited numerous facts: demonstrated weapons caches never destroyed; millions dead dead; wars started; WMDs used; suicide bomber funding provided. Where are the facts, your facts, that supporting the proposition that Saddam Hussein is not a madman with a bank account who should be defanged? Where is the lovely, stable, humaine region of the world that you are so concerned about preserving?"

I am not arguing for preserving the regime, I am arguing for alternatives to war to remove the regime. You are arguing for war to remove the regime. You stated that you believe S.H. and Kim to be suicidal in regard to the life of their nation.

I essentially asked for definitive examples of actions that demonstrate that our only reasonable, allowable course of action is war.

"Weapon Caches never destroyed":So what. Inspections have resumed.

"millions dead dead":most of them were dead before 9/11 weren't they? Why the sudden concern now?

"WMDs used":Reagan's admin didn't seem to care when S.H. gassed his own people in the early 80's. Don Rumsfeld was the head of a special envoy to normalize relations with Iraq after the gassing or used during the gulf war.

Even if S.H. has WMD why hasn't he used them on us yet. If he is the crazy, loon you make him out to be he should have attacked us by now. Our Homeland Security Department hasn't done squat to make us more secure then we were before 9/11. We should be breathing the radioactive dust of destroyed nuclear reactors, witnessing the flooding of cities where damns have been destroyed, and inhaling in all kinds of biological nastiness if your view is correct.

"Suicide Bomber funding":Oh, you mean making payments to the families of suicide bombers, or so I assume or your relying on the conservative crutch that the government cannot reveal their information at the risk of compromising their sources.

War is an act that should be entered into lightly. If the government cannot provide us with clear, real demonstrate evidence of complicity then the situation is too close to call and other action should be taken.
posted by Wong Fei-hung at 11:26 AM on February 4, 2003


Bush's argument boils down to: "I will invoke the memories of the people we lost on September 11th. Now I'm going to say that Saddam Hussein could mebbe possibly kinda sell his weapons to Osama Bin Laden (but I won't say the name Osama Bin Laden because that would remind too many people that we haven't caught him yet). There's no record that this has happened yet, and if there is we haven't released it yet for god knows why. So lemme go avenge my dad. God bless america."

Every time Bush brings up 9.11 in an anti-Hussein speech (and he almost always does), he uses the death of 3,000 people as a sorry political tool.
posted by owillis at 11:28 AM on February 4, 2003


ParisParamus - 'stupid, delluded'

i know you are, but what am i?

(delivered with the same sentiment that Mars Saxman imparted in his post, but in a way that may be more comprehensible to some)

as we all know, he who shouts loudest is rightest!

thankyou sgt.serenity, that bit of levity sure helped me digest this thread.
posted by asok at 11:32 AM on February 4, 2003


arg-should not be entered into lightly(g)
posted by Wong Fei-hung at 11:34 AM on February 4, 2003


Every time Bush brings up 9.11 in an anti-Hussein speech (and he almost always does), he uses the death of 3,000 people as a sorry political tool.

I agree, and I agree with those who say that the case for war is stonger in the terms that Bush is actually launching the war for (remaking the middle east) than the bogus 9/11 and weapons claims he thinks the public will buy. But when 60% of the public think that Iraq was a part of 9/11, I guess he is right to do it that way to get what he wants.
posted by cell divide at 12:04 PM on February 4, 2003


Every time Bush brings up 9.11 in an anti-Hussein speech (and he almost always does), he uses the death of 3,000 people as a sorry political tool.

Some of the 9/11 families also agree:

"The Bush administration has repeatedly linked Iraq to the crimes of September 11, even though no link has been proven," said Peaceful Tomorrows' David Potorti, who lost his brother Jim at the World Trade Center. " We ask the administration to stop using the deaths of our family members as a reason to kill other innocent civilians already suffering under the regime of Saddam Hussein. As we gather this holiday to give thanks, let us behave like a great nation and choose a more practical and effective path."
posted by homunculus at 12:37 PM on February 4, 2003


Right Owillis....So we are going to get Saddam...I remember reading somewhere that we had Osama Bin Laden cornered at one time yet he GOT AWAY! So now we are going to try and do the same to Saddam Hussein. hahahahaha...... RIGHT.
posted by SweetIceT at 12:57 PM on February 4, 2003


hey what happens when a couple thausand of our troops get gassed and killed because of our quest to rid 'unknown unknowns'?

They get bulldozed into mass graves and burned.
posted by homunculus at 1:27 PM on February 4, 2003


quite frankly I have gone past caring. War the perfect jingoistic pick-me-up for those slow starting economic cycles.
posted by johnnyboy at 1:31 PM on February 4, 2003


"You who murdered a hundred thousand Iraqis to save a nickel on a gallon of gas are going to lecture me on the rules of war!? Well DON'T!"
the character of Egor Korshunov in the film Air Force One

It's about oil. It's always been about oil. Yes it's also about a mad dictator who rules Iraq with a mentality that was outdated in the Dark Ages. True Hussein has had ample time to learn how to play nice with the other boys & girls in the UN playground. True he has failed to do so. Big deal. It's about oil. That's the bottom line. We should go in there and get it over with and let the chips fall where they may, but this pussyfooting around about trying to make it look good in the eyes of the world is wasting everyone's time. There's no way for anyone to wear the white hat in this scenario and the world knows it. The Americans are the bad guys. So what. Big deal. It's about oil.

There's something to be said about a mentality that is simultaneously pacifistic and defeatist. It's going to happen anyway. World War Three has been a long time coming. Let's roll.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:02 PM on February 4, 2003


Goldberg's been pushing this particular line in the New Yorker for over a year now.

Here's another example:
In northern Iraq, there is new evidence of Saddam Hussein's genocidal war on the Kurds—and of his possible ties to Al Qaeda

In fact, the whole New Yorker Sept. 11 archive is probably worth looking at -- and somewhat more hawkish than you might think for a traditionally 'liberal' magazine (which probably has a lot to do with Remnick's editorship). Scroll down somewhat for the longer pieces.
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:45 PM on February 4, 2003


...Jeffrey Goldberg takes a look at how the Intelligence Community is re-thinking it's analysis of the Iraq/al-Qaeda connection.

Oh, please. I'm sure the "Intelligence Community" just woke up one recent morning and said "Wow, we really need to rethink years of intelligence work and analysis in Iraq." And we just can't imagine why they would do that at this particular time, now can we?

This whole impending Iraqi war, with constantly shifting "justifications", cheered on by these duplicitous, cowardly chickenhawks, run by many who originally armed Hussein, stinks to high hell.

Utterly shameful. We will reap exactly what we sow. The only possible silver lining will be watching war-mongering conservatives live under a cloud of scorn for years -- but the lives of thousands of Iraqi children and other civilians (followed soon after by the lives of thousands of American civilians) is too dark a cloud for that to ever matter.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 4:43 PM on February 4, 2003


Utterly shameful. We will reap exactly what we sow. The only possible silver lining will be watching war-mongering conservatives live under a cloud of scorn for years -- but the lives of thousands of Iraqi children and other civilians (followed soon after by the lives of thousands of American civilians) is too dark a cloud for that to ever matter.


Utterly shameful. We will reap the fruits of a bold, yet intelligent and necessary war. One of the less important, but enjoyable results of the liberation of Iraq will be watching the knee-jerk Left, including members of the pseudo-humanitarian Left crawl back into their holes for years. And thousands, millions of Iraqi men, women and children will be living under hopeful blue skies for the first time in decades.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:23 PM on February 4, 2003


Oh, please. I'm sure the "Intelligence Community" just woke up one recent morning and said "Wow, we really need to rethink years of intelligence work and analysis in Iraq."

Well f&m, if you would have spent the time to read the article, you would have read that, according to this article, after intelligence failures (like India's nuclear test) an investigation found that the intelligence community need to look at thing differently.

But I am sure in the fantasy land you live in, it is all a conspiracy...

If man 'A' is in a liquor store parking lot with a Ski-mask and a gun, talking to man 'B' with a Ski-mask and a gun, do I actually need to hear them conspire to make a educated hypothesis that A & B are going to rob the liquor store? No.

But hey keep looking for that smoking gun....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 5:30 PM on February 4, 2003


Want some straw for that man?
posted by owillis at 5:30 PM on February 4, 2003


Of course, Steve, noone has seen Man A and Man B together. Noone has, in fact, seen one of these men for a year or so now.
posted by lambchops at 5:40 PM on February 4, 2003


No but I could use some of that fertilizer you've been spreading around....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 5:42 PM on February 4, 2003


So the war drums are pounding pretty loudly and the best evidence we can provide is a tentative link to terrorist activities and weapons of mass destruction that cannot be found (most of which are long past their effective shelf life btw).

First Saddam is a pretty smart dude, he also has a pretty strong drive to stay alive and in power. He is not "Crazy" and "Unpredictable" as so many of the hawks would have us believe. Certainly power hungry, megalomaniacal and a bully but not crazy.

Bottom Line:
If we had any kind of tangible evidence that Saddam supported Al Qaeda he'd be dead.

If we had any kind of tangible evidence that he is actively producing WoMD he'd be dead.

Saddam knows this just as much as we do.

Now until someone can give me real evidence and/or sufficient proof that a reasonably intelligent power hungry dictator already under the world microscope would risk in any way his already tenuous grip on power I'm going to be very skeptical.

My skepticism will be doubled when you propose as a solution that we place the lives of our soldiers (and further aggravation of the hornets nest that is the middle east) on the line.

Realistically the arguments that this is a war for oil are just as strong as it's a war against terrorism or WoMD.
posted by aaronscool at 6:14 PM on February 4, 2003


"There are no current links between the Iraqi regime and the al-Qaeda network, according to an official British intelligence report seen by BBC News.

"The classified document, written by defence intelligence staff three weeks ago, says there has been contact between the two in the past.

"But it assessed that any fledgling relationship foundered due to mistrust and incompatible ideologies."

posted by homunculus at 11:05 PM on February 4, 2003


Ty Webb: "our rangers would be sipping Bud longnecks in Baghdad right now"

No way. Our Rangers would never have the logistical support to provide long necks. It would most certainly be cans.

A well written article, as most content of the New Yorker is. It certainly has made me rethink and reconsider some issues of a war that will apparently start in the next six weeks (American schools in Kuwait have been closed for this period; Kuwait has declared that on 15 February the northern third of the country will be officially off limits to anyone not carrying military I.D.)

What I found most interesting within the article are the glances cast toward human behavior:

"In the world of intelligence MetaFilter, this is known as mirror-imaging: the projection of American one's values and behavior onto American's one's enemies and rivals."

And:

"We tend to hear what we expect to hear, whether it's bad or good." (Or whether it supports our position or not.)

MetaFilter: It's people.

Nice comeback, Homun.
posted by Dick Paris at 1:43 AM on February 5, 2003


No way. Our Rangers would never have the logistical support to provide long necks. It would most certainly be cans.

Dick Paris- I take that as an insult. Have no doubt, my friend, that the U.S. armed forces, the finest in the world, could deliver tall, cold Buds wherever and whenever to whomever.

(cue: Battle Hymn of the Republic)

Also, speaking of drinking in combat, my uncle was a bartender for the Navy SEALs. In training, he had to tread water for two hours with a fully stocked mini-bar on his back, while shaking a martini, with a drill sergeant screaming at him "Better make that fucker DRY, maggot!"

He still wakes up screaming.

posted by Ty Webb at 8:52 AM on February 5, 2003


Well, Ty, then your just going to stay insulted because there is no way the army is gonna get glass bottles anywhere near the front line. That glass is just way too heavy! Now the Navy, maybe -- they've got big boats ya know. /me kidding of course

How's your golf game going anyway?
posted by Dick Paris at 9:41 AM on February 5, 2003


Here are Powell's comments about the alleged Iraq/al-Qaeda connection from today's speech.

Personally, I still want to hear more about the classified information on Saudi Arabia's connections to al-Qaeda, but I guess we'll have to wait 30 years when the archives are opened.
posted by homunculus at 10:21 AM on February 5, 2003


Meanwhile, "A senior Bush administration official warned today that North Korea, if allowed to reprocess spent nuclear fuel rods, could sell some of that fissile material to terrorists and other enemies of the United States who are seeking to build nuclear weapons."
posted by homunculus at 10:27 AM on February 5, 2003


Dick, why do you hate America so much? If we can put a cruise missile down a chimney, we can put a damn bottle in a soldier's hand! USA! USA! USA!

Golf game is fine, thanks. Na na na na na na na.
posted by Ty Webb at 11:43 AM on February 5, 2003


Ty, why do you hate beer in cans so much? Er, nevermind. Next up: beer in plastic bottles. :)
posted by Dick Paris at 2:06 AM on February 7, 2003


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