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Robert Scheer on the missing WMDs and how Bush is getting away with it all.
September 3, 2003 3:57 AM   Subscribe

Robert Scheer on the missing WMDs, claims of Iraqi exiles, and how Bush is getting away with it all. Scheer: Oops. There are no weapons of mass destruction after all. That's the emerging consensus of the second team of weapons sleuths commanded by the U.S. in Iraq, as reported last week in the Los Angeles Times. The 1,400-member Iraq Survey Group found what the first wave of U.S. military experts and the United Nations inspectors before them discovered — nada.
posted by skallas (37 comments total)

 
cpunks/cpunks to get passed registration.
posted by skallas at 3:58 AM on September 3, 2003


Well... It's certainly not "Newsfilter." Unfortunately, America (as a whole) could care less that they were punked and played.

And so we get the government we deserve...
posted by Perigee at 4:19 AM on September 3, 2003


I care, I care!
Can I have a new government now?

[Oh, and Perigee, read this]
posted by Outlawyr at 4:28 AM on September 3, 2003


Outlawyer... I could care less. Heh... (joke inherent)
posted by Perigee at 4:34 AM on September 3, 2003


Duh. No weapons of mass destruction? I think that's what a million people were trying to say when they marched on London. I think the real debate should be: do we actually have any influence whatsoever over what our politicians get up to, or is this supposed 'democracy' strictly a top-down operation?
posted by skylar at 4:51 AM on September 3, 2003


Hans Blix is still waiting for his letter of apology after being smeared by the US, and accused of 'dithering'. I'm sure that George can send it c/o the UN, New York.
posted by riviera at 5:47 AM on September 3, 2003


Look, we won the war. What is so difficult to understand about that. Why must the left spend so much time focussing on the past?
Look ahead, the future of the Iraqi people looks much better than it did a year ago. That alone should stand as a valuable moral lesson about the effectiveness of this, or any war.

/pointless sarcastic comment

The problem with good things is that it is much easier to destroy than create them.

Somewhere in Pembrokeshire (Tenby, Haverfordwest?) I saw something that has stayed with me for may years.
There was a house near the sea front that had many ornaments outside. Each had been painstakingly covered in sea shells by the home owner, and displayed outside for the passing public. Some of them were quite ornate.
All of them, IMHO, were gaudy, ugly, pointless items.
One object, a chair if I remember correctly, sat broken, damaged beyond repair. On it was a sign that said '7 years to build, 10 minutes to destroy', and a paragraph about the item and it's destruction at the hands of some young scamp.
Looking at this destroyed item, I felt the anger and frustration of the person who built it. It may have been an ugly-ass creation to my eyes, but they had invested time and emotion in the creative process. They had left this broken item out to demonstrate this hurt, and hopefully get parents to keep a watch over their young whilst they perused the shell encrusted objects.

I didn't understand the need to waste a life covering household items with sea shells, creating offenses to the eye. However, destroying them because I could not understand them was not an action that would bring any joy into the world.

Not sure why I thought this was a good time to share that memory, but hey.
posted by asok at 6:12 AM on September 3, 2003


The problem with good things is that it is much easier to destroy than create them.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. It's the commonality between the Republican Right in the USA, and the guerilla fighters in Iraq. Both groups take advantage of the fact that it is much easier to destroy than it is to create. The Republican Right is using it to destroy the social welfare system and other protections provided by the Federal Government. The Iraqi guerillas are using it to destroy their own society.

They don't need to worry about burning down the house, because they never wanted the house in the first place.

Let's just hope that those of us who do want a stable society are able to get the situation under control, in the US, Iraq, and the rest of the world. Otherwise we're in for a really rough ride.
posted by alms at 6:43 AM on September 3, 2003


No WMD in Iraq?!?!

"You don't know what you don't know." - Donald Ducksfeld

"And we intend to keep you uninformed and misinformed as much as possible." - Dick Cyborg
posted by nofundy at 7:42 AM on September 3, 2003


Why must the left spend so much time focussing on the past?

It's not just the left but much of the libertarian right as well.

Look, we did something we had never done before as a nation--invaded a country which had not attacked us and posed no threat to us, after claiming it did by possessing weapons of mass destruction.

A precedent was established--we started a war against a nation which had not attacked us nor was about to attack us on false pretenses.

Not everyone in this country is comfortable with that fact. What is so difficult to understand about that?
posted by y2karl at 8:32 AM on September 3, 2003


Scheer is misinformed about the situation in Britain. The Hutton inquiry was not formed to investigate the rationale for war. It was formed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of David Kelly. Specifically, whether politicians (including PM Tony Blair and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon) and senior civil servants acted improperly, and whether the BBC reported accurately and responsibly.

Also, it appears that Campbell's resignation is not related to the Hutton inquiry at all. The sheer pressure of work and the workload meant that he wanted to resign last year, but was persuaded to stay on until after the Iraq war.
posted by salmacis at 9:22 AM on September 3, 2003


Look, we did something we had never done before as a nation--invaded a country which had not attacked us and posed no threat to us

Unless you count Grenada, Panama, the Faulkland Islands (the Brits were part of this coalition), and a bunch of others. Hell, the US was founded on invading and killing people who posed no threat to us.
posted by jpoulos at 9:26 AM on September 3, 2003


The Hutton inquiry was not formed to investigate the rationale for war.

When BBC World Service radio talks about the inquiry, that's how it describes its purpose--to investigate the rationale for the war. I don't know what the truth is. I'm just sayin'....
posted by jpoulos at 9:28 AM on September 3, 2003


"Look ahead, the future of the Iraqi people looks much better than it did a year ago. That alone should stand as a valuable moral lesson about the effectiveness of this, or any war."

While I understand what you're trying to say, I keep hearing the phrase "the end justifies the means" echo in my empty brainpan. Starting a war on humanitarian grounds is a slippery slope best unwalked. That the nation in question posed no harm to anybody outside its own borders alarms me even more.
posted by infowar at 10:41 AM on September 3, 2003


The Scheer article is really a follow up to this piece (also in the LA Times) by Bob Drogin. He asks and tries to answer the question "OK, we were fooled, who fooled us?".

I don't see much discussion around this. The Hutton Enquiry and other government navel gazing seems to be coming to the conclusion that the Intelligence Agencies, right across the West, were comprehensively fooled in unison. In other words, don't blame our leaders, they were only passing on (albeit somewhat sexed-up) what their spooks were telling them.

So someone was fooling the Intelligence Agencies. Who? The Drogin article suggests it was Saddam himself, deliberately planting false information to suggest he had a WMD capacity when in fact there was none. Why would he do that? Well, he was an idiot who did lots of stupid things, the story goes.

I might just buy this, but first I want to be reassured about something possibly irrelevant. We all know that for months before the war there was all sorts of bullshit flying around the web on Iraq, from places like debka. Is it just possible that this was part of a deeper disinformation campaign that took in our masters? In other words, I want to be reassured that our tail was not being pulled by someone with something to gain.
posted by grahamwell at 10:52 AM on September 3, 2003


another left op-ed taken for truth... whee!
posted by alethe at 12:09 PM on September 3, 2003


Perhaps you may prefer Operation Iraqi Freedom Strategic Lessons Learned--a report from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, leaked to and printed by that noted socialist paper The Washington Times.

Choice tidbits:

It says that on Aug. 29, 2002, Mr. Bush "approves Iraq goals, objectives and strategy."

It says planners were not given enough time to put together the best blueprint for what is called Phase IV — the ongoing reconstruction of Iraq. "Late formation of DoD [Phase IV] organizations limited time available for the development of detailed plans and pre-deployment coordination," the report says. "Command relationships (and communication requirements) and responsibilities were not clearly defined for DoD organizations until shortly before [Operation Iraqi Freedom] commenced."

Remember what one recently retired Lt. Colonel, serving last (May 2002 through February 2003) with the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Near East South Asia and Special Plans, Karen Kwiatkowski, wrote in an editorial distributed by Knight-Ridder:

I am now retired. Shortly before my retirement I was allowed to return to my primary office of assignment, having served in NESA as a desk officer backfill for 10 months. The transfer was something I had sought, but my wish was granted only after I made a particular comment to my superior, in response to my reading of a February Secretary of State cable answering a long list of questions from a Middle Eastern country regarding U.S. planning for the aftermath in Iraq. The answers had been heavily crafted by the Pentagon, and to me, they were remarkably inadequate, given the late stage of the game. I suggested to my boss that if this was as good as it got, some folks on the Pentagon's E-ring may be sitting beside Hussein in the war crimes tribunals.

Hussein is not yet sitting before a war crimes tribunal. Nor have the key decision-makers in the Pentagon been forced to account for the odd set of circumstances that placed us as a long-term occupying force in the world's nastiest rat's nest, without a nation-building plan, without significant international support and without an exit plan. Neither may ever be required to answer their accusers, thanks to this administration's military as well as publicity machine, and the disgraceful political compromises already made by most of the Congress. Ironically, only Saddam Hussein, buried under tons of rubble or in hiding, has a good excuse.


Kwiatkowski, who was Insider Notes From The Pentagon for David Hackworth's Soldiers For The Truth, has gone on to the very libertarian LewRockwell.Com, where her fulminations against all things neocon continue unabated. Hardly a leftwinger she.

Her transfer back to the Pentagon for her last tour, given her outspoken views, and the leaking of this report would suggest the JCS was hedging its bets then and is now looking to put some daylight between themselves and certain ellement sof the civilian leadership at the Pentagon.
posted by y2karl at 12:49 PM on September 3, 2003


skallas, I was about to take you to task for using up your op-ed quota, but alethe has just made me appreciate this anew. Rock on!

I love that phrase "taken for truth" - because, of course, it's just this guy's opinion that WMD haven't been found!
posted by soyjoy at 12:51 PM on September 3, 2003


And then there is Joe Klein in Time this week:

Indeed, a depressing array of defense and foreign policy experts, including members of the uniformed military, have quietly concluded that postwar Iraq is the most vexing theater of operations the American military has faced since Vietnam. Even if Saddam Hussein is captured or killed, most experts (outside the Pentagon) believe that the restoration of order will be extremely difficult. Jihadist terror, organized criminality and internecine religious violence are likely to continue. For the immediate future, this is where George Bush's war on terrorism is being fought — and this is where his political future may be decided.

How the right will blame Bill Clinton for all this remains to be seen.
posted by y2karl at 12:59 PM on September 3, 2003


it looks like in addition to the UN - bush and his team of clownies are calling in agent mulder and the bees. the bees!
posted by specialk420 at 1:12 PM on September 3, 2003


Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, al Qaeda and the Taliban are back, and Osama is alive and planning to use biological weapons. If Bush wanted to stop terrorists with WMD, he should have followed through in Afghanistan instead of dropping it.
posted by homunculus at 1:49 PM on September 3, 2003


So where did all the chemicals go that were supplied to Iraq? This is an old article but saw recently they were naming The Countries, Companies & Chemicals supplied to Iraq in this suit.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:57 PM on September 3, 2003


How the right will blame Bill Clinton
Think the left did, Gore saying recently our military is what it is today thanks in part to his administration as can be witnessed today in Iraq. Then the soldiers over there are saying they are lacking; food & equipment.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:05 PM on September 3, 2003


>I want to be reassured that our tail was not being pulled by someone with something to gain.

Like Rumsfeld et al, you know the PNAC crowd, who chose to ignore valid US intelligence for ideology? I can't wait to hear the newest spin from the white house about how they were misled not by their own but by Iraqi exiles. Come on, the exiles told them what they wanted to hear (while ignoring everyone else) and 9/11 became an excuse to goto war in Iraq.

If there was real accountability in government Bush would have been impeached a long time ago.
posted by skallas at 2:09 PM on September 3, 2003


Gore saying recently our military is what it is today thanks in part to his administration as can be witnessed today in Iraq.

That may be the case, but if so, who ordered them in in that state?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:34 PM on September 3, 2003


Think it was some guy named Rumsfeld.
posted by soyjoy at 2:43 PM on September 3, 2003


skallas history will tell the truth, from what I was told prior to the war, it is going to be interesting knowing what Saddam only had.

ordered them in in that state

Left them in that state too, yet our military takes its time updating because of all the paper work involved. What you see on Discovery Channel is not on most battle fields yet. If you have ever done business with them you know your lucky to be paid too. Our military needs more backing from Congress since it's they whom have the right to declare war longer than 90 days. Or is this the Executive Branch's duties which then seems to control it for their purposes?

Also, since there was no true plan of reconstructing Iraq(current headlines) how far back in time was this idea to invade wage War start? Ask because if there was a conspiracy(money & political gains) to all this, no future was thought out too?
posted by thomcatspike at 3:03 PM on September 3, 2003


Unless you count ... the Faulkland Islands (the Brits were part of this coalition), and a bunch of others. Hell, the US was founded on invading and killing people who posed no threat to us.
posted by jpoulos at 5:26 PM GMT on September 3


I didnt support that war, but actually, nor did US troops... The Falklands War was pure last-gasp British Imperialism. We needed no coalition there, pal.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:17 PM on September 3, 2003


how far back in time was this idea to invade wage War start?

Oh, since 1975, I'd say. Especially check out the Harper's piece mentioned in note #3.

Oh, and in 1975 we had the same Defense Secretary we have today, and the chief of staff at the White House then is now the vice-president. Weird, eh?
posted by trondant at 6:03 PM on September 3, 2003


> Like Rumsfeld et al, you know the PNAC crowd, who chose to ignore valid US intelligence for ideology?

I can accept that the PNAC crowd filtered the intelligence so that their view prevailed, but I can't accept that they were the sources of the intelligence in the first place. In addition they had little influence in Britain and the rest of Europe, who independently came to the same conclusions (as did Hans Blix to begin with). Some person or persons painted us a picture which was false. I would like to know who.
posted by grahamwell at 4:40 AM on September 4, 2003


infowar and y2karl, sorry for the confusion. The part of my post preceeding the '/pointless sarcastic remark' tag was an attempt at parody.
I do not believe that the Iraqis are better off now than they were a year ago, nor will they be for many years. There is/was/will never be a good reason for this flexing of US military muscle IMHO.
The way we learn is by reflecting on past actions, not repeating those which are detrimental to our health. Focusing on the future without proper understanding of the past is escapism; 'There is no tomorrow without a yesterday'.
As trondant has pointed out, the same career psychpaths are in the Whitehouse as have been since the times of Nixon. You would have thought that the genocidal career of Henry Kissenger would be enough to ring alarm bells about these people who hang around the Whitehouse habitually. They are not our/your servants.
posted by asok at 4:57 AM on September 4, 2003


Look, we did something we had never done before as a nation--invaded a country which had not attacked us and posed no threat to us, after claiming it did...

See also : Gulf of Tonkin, Remember the Maine.
posted by crunchland at 5:48 AM on September 4, 2003


Unless you count ... the Faulkland Islands (the Brits were part of this coalition), and a bunch of others. Hell, the US was founded on invading and killing people who posed no threat to us.
posted by jpoulos at 5:26 PM GMT on September 3

I didnt support that war, but actually, nor did US troops... The Falklands War was pure last-gasp British Imperialism. We needed no coalition there, pal.


The Falkland Islands were British territory inhabited by British people and invaded by a corrupt, tyrannical Argentinian leader who wanted to pick a fight in order make himself look good. That war has no place in this discussion.
posted by Summer at 5:49 AM on September 4, 2003


See also : Gulf of Tonkin, Remember the Maine.

Forgot the Mexican War, dude.
posted by y2karl at 7:13 AM on September 4, 2003


I can accept that the PNAC crowd filtered the intelligence so that their view prevailed, but I can't accept that they were the sources of the intelligence in the first place. In addition they had little influence in Britain and the rest of Europe, who independently came to the same conclusions (as did Hans Blix to begin with). Some person or persons painted us a picture which was false. I would like to know who.

Intelligence chief: Dossier exaggerated the case for war.

Downing St 'over-egged' weapons intelligence, scientist tells Hutton

It rather looks like an inside job on either side of the Atlantic. If Bush signed off on the war on August 29, 2002, and Blair was in on it from the start, why can't it be explained as being coordinated by two separate sets of insiders? This attempt to slough it off on unnamed Iraqi exiles carries with it the implication that two intelligence agencies were full of fools, an impression the agencies in question seem determined to correct.
posted by y2karl at 8:00 AM on September 4, 2003


thanks asok. I am clueless when it comes to sarcsam on metafilter although I myself try to be obvious.
posted by infowar at 10:31 AM on September 4, 2003


It rather looks like an inside job on either side of the Atlantic.

Well, if so, it fooled a lot of insiders, in particular Dr. Kelly himself.

‘He was absolutely convinced [the weapons] were buried in the sand, in the desert somewhere. He desperately wanted to go back to Iraq to finish the job.’

I'll confess it fooled me too.
posted by grahamwell at 9:15 AM on September 5, 2003


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