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June 11, 2003 3:11 PM   Subscribe

At first, it appeared that the effort to begin a public probe into the manipulation of intelligence that formed the foundation of the case for the Iraq war was shaking out as bipartisan, with John Warner, and eventually John McCain on board. Each day we would hear of another Senator or Representative pushing harder for an open review of exactly who pulled which string. It only took a few minutes this morning for all of that momentum to cease to exist. ...
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly (28 comments total)

 
When your party controls the legislature, Newton's law of conservation of energy can apparently be taken off the books.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts said some of the Democratic criticism of the handling of the intelligence has "been simply politics and for political gain. I will not allow the committee to be politicized or to be used as an unwitting tool for any political strategist."

To borrow a phrase from Colin Powell, this sounds like so much bullshit.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:13 PM on June 11, 2003


and eventually John McCain on board
Knew I read a small news blip on this last week, but could not find any traces of it afterwards.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:19 PM on June 11, 2003


adding, heard the new news about Saddam & his revenge. Couldn't find a link, but heard along with him being alive he will now use the WMD for revenge purposes, he lost the Iraqi government/Bathe Party. I would laugh but my brother is still there.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:30 PM on June 11, 2003


Oh this is just beginning. This issue is not going away. As long as OBL, Saddam, and those WMDs are floating around with the administration crowing about their successes these issues will only grow in strength.

It took a long time for folks to care about Clinton's penis in that young lady. It took a long time for folks to care about Nixon's extracurricular activities.

This is going to be fun fun till Daddy takes our t-bird away.
posted by filchyboy at 3:38 PM on June 11, 2003


I gotta agree with them. Wanna a probe? Here is one: last week, 34% of Americans believed that the US has already found WMDs in Iraq, while 7% were unsure
posted by magullo at 3:41 PM on June 11, 2003


Oh this is just beginning. This issue is not going away.

An "issue" must become something cocrete in order to progress.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:43 PM on June 11, 2003


Like to add a point too, if we can't find Saddam & Osama who now claims, would never have ties to Saddam then how are we going to find Saddam's weapons. Yet whose this Intelligence that say all three exist(ed)?
posted by thomcatspike at 3:47 PM on June 11, 2003


Of course Saddam is believed to be alive. Like any good bogeyman it's not good to kill him off too easily. He's the chicken-hawk's Freddy Krueger.
posted by substrate at 4:07 PM on June 11, 2003


Exaggerating the WMD Threat
posted by homunculus at 4:31 PM on June 11, 2003


the only way we are going to get rid of bush now is if someone gives him a blow job in the oval office and tells. volunteers?
posted by quonsar at 4:38 PM on June 11, 2003


Ignatius is right -- in politics, momentum is everything. there's no real public outrage at the WH tactics, most casual readers of newspapers / tv news viewers probably think -- as the poll indicates -- that the weapons were there and have been found already, and they also probably think (not without reason, in the actual political climate) that Saddam deserved a good ass-kicking anyway, WMD or not.

it's tough to build a case around a negative ("they did NOT found that stuff") -- it's so much easier to organize a political/media lynch mob around a simpler narrative (i.e., oral sex with young interns). a REALLY big story -- but with a harder-to-digest narrative for the non-political-junkie man of the street -- like Watergate took about a year and a half to really take off in the political world and in the media (Nixon got reelected in 1972 _after_ the burglars had been caught and the Nixon people had begun falling apart, for example John Mitchell, but I'm digressing).

if I were a Democratic strategist, I wouldn't lose time money & energy on the missing WMD thing. hammering the WH on fiscal irresponsibility, handouts to huge corporations, the economy and health care is probably a much smarter strategy
posted by matteo at 4:40 PM on June 11, 2003


If I were a Democratic strategist, I would take a different angle on the missing WMD: if the intelligence was simply wrong, that means that a year and a half after 9-11 Bush has still failed to fix the intelligence services, putting us all in danger. Bush isn't the only one who can use the politics of terror.

I would also heed Friedman's advice when talking about taxes and services.
posted by homunculus at 4:57 PM on June 11, 2003


I you were smart, you--the plural you--you would have the sense to see that alleging corrupt things against the Bush administration on Metafilter is like the type of sex commonly known as masturbation. Congradulations on your insight and daring.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:06 PM on June 11, 2003


ParisParamus, then your usual rhetoric must be the equivalent of giving Bush and Ashcroft a rim job. Keep up the good work, I guess.
posted by substrate at 5:54 PM on June 11, 2003


Since we haven't found WMD in Iraq yet, Administration critics are claiming that the Bush administration lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The story being floated now is that Saddam had no WMD (or almost none) and that the Bush administration lied about the WMD threat.

Well, if the Bush administration lied, there sure are a lot of its opponents who told the same lies since the inspectors pulled out of Iraq in 1998. Here are just a few examples:

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." -- From a letter signed by Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Milulski, Tom Daschle, & John Kerry among others on October 9, 1998

"Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Madeline Albright, 1998

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons, but has not yet achieved nuclear capability." -- Robert Byrd, October 2002

"What is at stake is how to answer the potential threat Iraq represents with the risk of proliferation of WMD. Baghdad's regime did use such weapons in the past. Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs." -- Jacques Chirac, October 16, 2002

"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security." -- Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

"I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons...I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out." -- Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Cohen in April of 2003

"Iraq is not the only nation in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction, but it is the only nation with a leader who has used them against his own people." -- Tom Daschle in 1998

"I share the administration's goals in dealing with Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction." -- Dick Gephardt in September of 2002

"Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." -- Al Gore, 2002

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction." -- Bob Graham, December 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -- Ted Kennedy, September 27, 2002

"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -- Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998

"Even today, Iraq is not nearly disarmed. Based on highly credible intelligence, UNSCOM [the U.N. weapons inspectors] suspects that Iraq still has biological agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, and clostridium perfringens in sufficient quantity to fill several dozen bombs and ballistic missile warheads, as well as the means to continue manufacturing these deadly agents. Iraq probably retains several tons of the highly toxic VX substance, as well as sarin nerve gas and mustard gas. This agent is stored in artillery shells, bombs, and ballistic missile warheads. And Iraq retains significant dual-use industrial infrastructure that can be used to rapidly reconstitute large-scale chemical weapons production." -- Ex-Un Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter in 1998
source

The Senate will begin shortly closed door hearings to review US intelligence on Iraq.

I think they should open the doors. Show who knew what when, including those on the Congressional Intelligence oversight panels.

posted by AmILost at 5:55 PM on June 11, 2003


And Paris, while we're at it, congratulations on winning the spelling bee.

[/snarky spelling comment]
posted by zaack at 6:04 PM on June 11, 2003


shouldn't it be "Congradulations on your masdurbations", then?
posted by matteo at 6:12 PM on June 11, 2003


Anyone who would take the story that congress is *ever* going to investigate the "US Intelligence Community", at face value, doesn't know very much about USINT. It is HUGE, and would take years to do even a modest analysis of the flow of information and how it *didn't* get from wherever to the National Security Council, to the POTUS.
First of all, it's NOT just the CIA.
Second, they are very, very, very, very busy.
posted by kablam at 6:16 PM on June 11, 2003


kablam:
agreed, but part of the purpose of an inquiry would be to get people under oath to get definitive statements. IT is hard to determine if someone is lying unless we are all talking about the same statement.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 6:36 PM on June 11, 2003


wow, amilost, your third comment ever is not the doozy your first was... maybe because padding it out with quotes like

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -- Ted Kennedy, September 27, 2002

"Iraq is not the only nation in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction, but it is the only nation with a leader who has used them against his own people." -- Tom Daschle in 1998

"I share the administration's goals in dealing with Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction." -- Dick Gephardt in September of 2002

"What is at stake is how to answer the potential threat Iraq represents with the risk of proliferation of WMD. Baghdad's regime did use such weapons in the past. Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs." -- Jacques Chirac, October 16, 2002


are fairly meaningless equivocations whereas

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised ... Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed. And it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power."
George Bush, March 18


is a bit more to the point...
posted by y2karl at 6:43 PM on June 11, 2003


Ignatius J. Reilly: there seem to be only two ways of approaching any such investigation. Either investigating the sources of the public report about Iraq as to their opinions, and whether they felt manipulated; or doing the same with the private report. But there are several trips in either direction.
The public report will not contain classified information, and is designed as a brief press release. So the accusation would be "deceiving the public", about the opinions of some spies, in a 5 page summary?
The private report, far more interesting, would be the classified information presented to a select group of senators and congressmen, noteworthily, not in a vacuum--they have been seeing reports on this and related subjects for years. Ironically, this is where you get a volume of data bottleneck. "CIA, NSA, and DEA said 'No', but the FBI, DIA, and (British) MI6 said 'Yes'. Several other intelligence agencies didn't know either way."
"So we bet on 'Yes.'"
In other words there is *never* clarity. Even over something as seemingly simple as "Did Iraq have WMDs in quantity and with the ability and willingness to use them?"

The trouble is that many chemicals, common industrials, can be toxic, or used as weapons, even if they aren't "military agents"; radiation bombs can be made out of any old radioactive drek; and any hospital has pathogens that could be called "weapons".

In other words, *any* modern city is loaded with WMDs. They just don't know it. And Hans Blix prolly wouldn't find them if he had a road map and a flashlight, either.
posted by kablam at 7:10 PM on June 11, 2003


if we can't find Saddam & Osama ... then how are we going to find Saddam's weapons[?]

For one thing, these theoretical NBC weapons should be a wee bit easier to track down than Saddam, as he doesn't mass some 500 tons (as in "Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent." -- George W. Bush, President, State of the Union Address, 1/28/2003)
posted by moonbiter at 7:49 PM on June 11, 2003


Info from the FAS from 1991, about Iraq's potential to produce chemical weapons.
It should be noted that things change, but industrial bulk production of chemical weapons, in an industrial country, is pretty darned easy.

Just as an aside, ingested Nicotine is more deadly then either sarin or VX.
posted by kablam at 8:20 PM on June 11, 2003


Is Saddam in the Republic of Kalmykia? The President, a Saddam supporter, took the last private jet out of Baghdad on March 18th...
posted by crunchburger at 8:58 PM on June 11, 2003


AmILost, I think the point you're not grasping is that none of those people that you quote suggested pre-emptively declaring war on Saddam to get rid of them. W. & Co. waged a war based on their certainty that WMD's existed and were a clear and imminent threat to our well-being. Obviously, nothing could have been further from the truth. The only question now is, was the intelligence that bad or was Bush lying? If the former, then the intelligence community has effectively wrested the ability to wage war away from Congress. If the latter, then the President has done the same thing. Which is worse?
posted by vraxoin at 9:19 PM on June 11, 2003


Is Saddam in the Republic of Kalmykia?

Wow, thanks for the link, crunchburger. I posted a thread about Kalmykia a few months ago, but I had no idea that Ilyumzhinov was so fond of Hussein. I thought he was an endearing loon, but that's creepy. I guess we can't find Saddam because he's protected by Ilyumzhinov's extra-sensory field.
posted by homunculus at 9:47 PM on June 11, 2003


Ooooooooooooops!!!!
posted by magullo at 5:22 AM on June 12, 2003


What irks me is that our troops didn't even follow through with rapid inspections of the "known" nuclear sites. The looters beat us to those sites, by days, and carried off whatever nasty stuff they could get their hands on.

If the WH was truly convinced that nuclear material was being stored . . . and truly wanted to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands . . . wouldn't it have made sense to arrive at and then secure those sites as quickly as possible.
Unless of course you already knew they were (mostly) empty.

Of course pulling down those statues was also a priority.
posted by ahimsakid at 10:23 AM on June 12, 2003


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