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March 16, 2004 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Rumsfeld waffles on Face the Nation when asked about the "immediate threat" argument in favor of war with Iraq. Link is Windows Media video.

This to me is a gregarious example of how semantics and linguistic framing has been used to manipulate the American public, and one clear moment of this questionable tactic breaking down.

Interesting how he tries to blame it on the media and "folklore", and then segues right into noncommittal doublespeak.

Via Joi Ito (text available), via Center for American Progress.


posted by loquacious (71 comments total)

 
Damn, they left out the part where his pants catch fire.
posted by Outlawyr at 1:55 PM on March 16, 2004


semantics? i thought "semantics" meant "the meaning" as opposed to "the text". were you thinking of another word, or am i confused?
posted by andrew cooke at 1:57 PM on March 16, 2004


His prevarications transcend speciousness, and the magnitude of his obfuscatory gregariousness is downright egregious.

Also, what Outlawyr said.
posted by chicobangs at 2:00 PM on March 16, 2004


andrew cooke: I goofed actually, and hit post instead of preview before I was quite done. Note the grammar after "linguistic framing". "Semantics" wasn't supposed to make it in the final.

First link and all that.

Pants... made of fire? What a wonderful and amazing technology. I must get some! oh... no? but... well, crap. *sniff*
posted by loquacious at 2:10 PM on March 16, 2004


it really was amazing to watch--but will it sway any Bush supporter to know that the whole crew is full of shit?
posted by amberglow at 2:12 PM on March 16, 2004




This would be funny if it weren't for all the dead people.
posted by 2sheets at 2:19 PM on March 16, 2004


The Democrats should really be hammering Rumsfeld on this.

And, you know, if Friedman hadn't had a quote ready to throw back at Rumsfeld, he would have been able to totally dodge the question.
posted by bshort at 2:21 PM on March 16, 2004


but will it sway any Bush supporter to know that the whole crew is full of shit?

No, it won't, and that is really the most amazing thing, amberglow. The Bushies don't care whether everyone from Dubya on down lied about the reasoning behind the deposing of Hussein - apparently, it's only a matter of national interest when a President lies about oral sex with consenting adults, not when a President and his entire administration lies about the justification for the deaths of hundreds of Amerians and tens of thousands of foreigners...
posted by JollyWanker at 2:25 PM on March 16, 2004


I'll tell you why so many of the Bushies won't care: because many of them won't, in a way, know. They're too busy watching ALL FOX ALL THE TIME. If it's not on Fox, it doesn't exist. Fox won't report Rumsfeld's prevarications; ergo, Rumsfeld didn't prevaricate.
posted by scody at 2:36 PM on March 16, 2004


the phrase you may be searching for "semiotic statecraft" which is mine, ALL MINE.
posted by clavdivs at 2:38 PM on March 16, 2004


Just about the most unpleasant possible thing happened when I saw this post: I imagined an unholy breakfast dish called "Rumsfeld waffles."
posted by Skot at 2:40 PM on March 16, 2004


Scody, man I wished the world really did work like that. Sort of a new age Berkeley's construct, if you don't believe it exists then it doesn't.

Man, I've gotta get some speakers for my work computer so I can watch AND listen to these things.

On Preview: They'd be bitter, dry and wrinkly things that no one would eat, much less look at.
posted by fenriq at 2:43 PM on March 16, 2004


JollyW, you're assuming that it isn't a matter of national interest, and on this I think you're wrong. Rather its a classic case of the end justifying the means. Saddam was a horror; on that we're all agreed. Removing him is commonly seen as being a greater good than the Administration's lies are bad (regardless of whether you agree with that balance of virtues or not). It just plain won't matter if Rummy appears weak in the face of opposition to his character as long as he appears tough on terrorists! Die terrorists, die!!! Feel the wrath of Rumsfeld!

(Sorry, I got caught up in the hypnotism there for a moment.)
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:43 PM on March 16, 2004


I gotta post this here again because it's Rummie himself and I don't know why it hasn't been widely reported (I think I found it via Google search). "Sometimes I overstate for emphasis" should be a mantra hanging around his neck:

Lytle: On March 30th you said, referring to Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, quote, "We know where they are." Do you know where they are now? And will they be found?

Rumsfeld: When you quote me, as opposed to somebody else, I do remember the context. (Laughter.) And in that instance, we had been in the country for about 15 seconds; sometimes I overstate for emphasis. The truth is, we'd been there about two weeks. And the forces were fighting up from the south -- maybe three weeks -- fighting up from the south, heading towards Baghdad. And we were besieged with questions: "You haven't found any weapons of mass destruction yet. Why not?" And I said, very simply: Because all of our information is that they are in the -- more -- closer to Baghdad, in the area from Baghdad north, and we were not physically on the ground in that area at the present time.

What we had, as Secretary Powell told the United Nations, is a long list of suspect sites. And they were sites that the inspectors had been in the process of looking at when they concluded that the inspection process really wasn't working, because of lack of cooperation on the part of Saddam Hussein's regime. And I said, "We know they're in that area." I should have said, "I believe we're in that area. Our intelligence tells us they're in that area," and that was our best judgment. And we were being pressed to find them while the war was still in its earliest, earliest days. And it seemed to me a somewhat unrealistic expectation.


September 10, 2003 (Emphasis added... har har). Entire transcript here.
posted by micropublishery at 2:44 PM on March 16, 2004


"Lying" implies knowing that your statement is untrue. I don't think it's as easy as that in this case. From what I have been able to gather, it went something like this:

1. Bush & Co want Saddam out.
2. CIA hears from some Iraqi defectors that Saddam has WMDs.
3. CIA doesn't check their sources, knowing what their boss wants to hear.
4. The WMD story is accepted uncritically by Bush & Co because it confirms their world view.
5. Bush & Co sex up the WMD story to the public.
6. War.

Many people in CIA and the White House failed to do their jobs, and should be held responsible. I think this whole story is more about incompetence and wishful thinking than conspiracy and lies.
posted by Triplanetary at 2:56 PM on March 16, 2004


In Their Own Words: Iraq's "Imminent" Threat (thanks to a lurker who emailed me)
posted by amberglow at 3:03 PM on March 16, 2004


Triplanetary, I think the real chain of events is closer to this:

1. Bush & Co want Saddam out.
2. CIA hears from some Iraqi defectors that Saddam has WMDs.
3. CIA checks sources, rules them out.
4. Cheney/Rumsfeld start parallel Intellegence Agency inside the Pentagon [Office of Special Projects] because the CIA was being "timid".
5. The WMD story is accepted uncritically by Bush & Co because it confirms their world view.
6. Bush & Co sex up the WMD story to the public.
7. War.
posted by plemeljr at 3:05 PM on March 16, 2004


You forgot:

7. Profit!
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:05 PM on March 16, 2004


so Triplanetary,

if Clinton really believed that he didnt have "sex" with that woman, then he didnt lie?
posted by tsarfan at 3:07 PM on March 16, 2004


Sorry, my slow response was to Triplanetary. Add one for plemeljr.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:07 PM on March 16, 2004


So if there was no "imminent threat" we violated international law for sure by invading a sovereign nation unprovoked?

Glad this got cleared up...by Donald Rumsfeld no less!
posted by aaronscool at 3:07 PM on March 16, 2004


It's the Ari Fleischer school of media-relations coming back to bite the administration on the ass, and it's about time. I always wondered why reporters didn't come to the briefings armed with transcripts of past statements; Fleischer regularly lied about things the White House had said, trusting that reporters wouldn't be able to instantly call him on it (and generally, they didn't). That's a parlor game you can put an end to real fast, and it's nice to see that SOMEBODY has finally done it, four years later. Just keep it up, Press Corps! You're gonna have to do it more than once, y'know...
posted by logovisual at 3:18 PM on March 16, 2004


Or we upheld international law by enforcing UN resolutions and cease fire arangements Saddam agreed to.
posted by techgnollogic at 3:18 PM on March 16, 2004


Or we upheld international law by enforcing UN resolutions and cease fire arangements Saddam agreed to

I thought the punishment for failing to comply with these resolutions was clearly defined as sanctions until the Security Council voted differently...
posted by aaronscool at 3:24 PM on March 16, 2004


Where's the doublespeak? He said "No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world and(I assume this should read "than") the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."

So what if no terrorist stay poses ANY immediate threat? Which they don't! Then he didn't actually say Iraq posed a threat, because if they all pose no threat then none pose more than the others.

It's just you craaaaazy lefty wingnuts blowing everything out of proportion as usual... I mean what's next, are you going to tell me Bush is a nazi or something?

/snark
posted by zekinskia at 3:38 PM on March 16, 2004


aaronscool: you'd be mistaken if you believe that the UN ever limited consequences to sanctions, much less that they "clearly" did so.

Resolution 1441 acknowledged that Iraq was in material breach of prior resolutions and had one final chance to comply or face "serious consequences." The resolution proposed by the US, UK, Spain and Norther Ireland that was opposed by France and Russia because it would have authorized military action merely states explicitly, without ambiguity, that Iraq failed to comply with 1441 and previous resolutions, which it was required to do by the ceasefire agreement following the first Gulf War, and would face serious consequences for its failed compliance. France and Russia chose to undermine the legitimacy of the Security Council resolution by offering one "last chance" after another.
posted by techgnollogic at 3:45 PM on March 16, 2004


if Clinton really believed that he didnt have "sex" with that woman, then he didnt lie?em>

Honestly asking here, seems Clinton too wanted Saddam out, yet the only thing that stopped him was NATO. Bush did not wait which was something Clinton stated that Bush should wait for. If Bush had waited for NATO and all this happened, what would change? Besides calling Bush a liar as I heard Clinton making the same claims.

posted by thomcatspike at 3:48 PM on March 16, 2004


left a tag open sorry,
Honestly
...{are my words}
posted by thomcatspike at 3:49 PM on March 16, 2004


Wulfgar: Saddam was a horror; on that we're all agreed. Removing him is commonly seen as being a greater good than the Administration's lies are bad (regardless of whether you agree with that balance of virtues or not).

No, as a matter of fact, we're not all agreed, Wulfgar. And amongst what group is it "commonly seen as a greater good" that Hussein has been deposed, at the cost of hundreds of American lives and the all-but-total destruction of our standing in the civilized world? It's clear now the intelligence community knew before we invaded what the invading forces and their embedded suckass media compatriots discovered in country: Iraq was a nation on the verge of collapse because of the years of UN-imposed sanctions, a country that posed little or no threat to its immediate neighbors, let alone a military superpower half a world away.
posted by JollyWanker at 3:55 PM on March 16, 2004


Is no one concerned with the highly unusual deployment of the word "gregarious" in the post? Merriam-Webster defines "gregarious" as meaning "social" or "sociable," or more specifically "tending to associate with others of one's kind," or "marked by or indicating a liking for companionship."

mmm-mmm. Rumsfeld waffles. Get 'em while they're hot.
posted by busbyism at 3:57 PM on March 16, 2004


So what you are saying is that there was no UN (Security Council or otherwise) authorization for the use of force in Iraq and the only authorized "serious consequences" to date were sanctions.

Personally I don't give a rats rear end about who said or did what on the council and neither does anyone else. These are the rules of International Law and I'm sure we'd pitch a royal fit if China decided to enforce long ignored UN resolutions by invading Israel without a Security Council approved resolution.

The point it seems is we have violated international law by Donald Rumsfeld's own admission because Iraq posed no immediate threat to our security and we had no UN authorization to use force.
posted by aaronscool at 3:58 PM on March 16, 2004


JollyWanker: does that mean that Saddam's failure to comply wasn't important?
posted by techgnollogic at 3:59 PM on March 16, 2004


pardonyou?,

Here's another take on the "imminent threat" bruhaha and those spinsanity links (which were great reading BTW). Maybe a case can be made for context, but as far as misleading goes, there's no where to run. Here's a good one:

"Absolutely."

- White House spokesman Ari Fleischer answering whether Iraq was an "imminent threat," 5/7/03

posted by velacroix at 4:16 PM on March 16, 2004


These are the rules of International Law and I'm sure we'd pitch a royal fit if China decided to enforce long ignored UN resolutions by invading Israel without a Security Council approved resolution.
That answers my question, thanks aaronscool.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:22 PM on March 16, 2004


the all-but-total destruction of our standing in the civilized world?

nothing a boatload of money can't buy
back
posted by clavdivs at 4:27 PM on March 16, 2004


busbyism: egregious perhaps?
posted by pots at 4:29 PM on March 16, 2004


clavdivs, a boatload we do not have and can't afford to borrow.
posted by Elim at 4:47 PM on March 16, 2004


if Clinton really believed that he didnt have "sex" with that woman, then he didnt lie?
The difference is Clinton didn't lie about a central matter of national security. He didn't lie to create an excuse to go to a war that has killed thousands of people.
posted by Nelson at 4:48 PM on March 16, 2004


To point: There is a big difference between 100 billion dollar illegal wars that piss off the whole world and leave thousands of people dead and ....


sweet, sweet lovin!
posted by n9 at 4:58 PM on March 16, 2004


JollyWanker, read what I wrote again, and think this time. Do you not think that Saddam was a horror? Or are you disagreeing with my non-assertion that taking him out was a greater good than the fact that the American administration has sold its people down the river?

Its good to get all fired up about this shit, but you'd best know the enemy. The simple fact is this: Many Americans are okay with the fact that the Bush administration lied because they think that IraqAtaq did the right thing ... remove a fascist dictator. If you want to harp on those that agree with you because they don't agree with you enough for your taste (i.e. they point out that a lotta folk don't agree with you) then you, quite kindly, deserve the result that you might see come November.

Pull your head out of your ass, man. You're not alone in the great struggle, unless you wish yourself to be. In that, I think you have a head start on the rest of us.

techgnollogic - JollyWanker: does that mean that Saddam's failure to comply wasn't important?

On the contrary, it was very important. But was it significant enough to go to war, in defiance of the UN, lead by lies for? No. Saddam's lies were ones of omission, not action. You can't prove a negative. We said he had WMDs. He said he didn't. We said prove it, cause Rummy has the evidence that you do, when Rummy was empty handed. He said "Fuck you". If you can't see what's wrong with that, then you really don't understand what America is all about
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:05 PM on March 16, 2004


"[N]o terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people than the regime of Saddam Hussein and Iraq.""

Source: Testimony of U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Senate Armed Services Committee (9/19/2002).
posted by eperker at 5:14 PM on March 16, 2004


Text for the video impaired:
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this. If they did not have these weapons of mass destruction, though, granted all of that is true, why then did they pose an immediate threat to us, to this country?

Sec. RUMSFELD: Well, you're the--you and a few other critics are the only people I've heard use the phrase `immediate threat.' I didn't. The president didn't. And it's become kind of folklore that that's--that's what's happened. The president went...

SCHIEFFER: You're saying that nobody in the administration said that.

Sec. RUMSFELD: I--I can't speak for nobody--everybody in the administration and say nobody said that.

SCHIEFFER: Vice president didn't say that? The...

Sec. RUMSFELD: Not--if--if you have any citations, I'd like to see 'em.

Mr. FRIEDMAN: We have one here. It says `some have argued that the nu'--this is you speaking--`that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent, that Saddam is at least five to seven years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain.'

Sec. RUMSFELD: And--and...

Mr. FRIEDMAN: It was close to imminent.

Sec. RUMSFELD: Well, I've--I've tried to be precise, and I've tried to be accurate. I'm s--suppose I've...

Mr. FRIEDMAN: `No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world and the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.'

Sec. RUMSFELD: Mm-hmm. It--my view of--of the situation was that he--he had--we--we believe, the best intelligence that we had and other countries had and that--that we believed and we still do not know--we will know.
Donate to John Kerry here.
posted by skallas at 5:17 PM on March 16, 2004


So what you are saying is that there was no UN (Security Council or otherwise) authorization for the use of force in Iraq and the only authorized "serious consequences" to date were sanctions.

No, I'm saying that the wording of the resolution - the one that France nearly burst a vein proclaiming it would veto before Iraqi representatives had even seen it, because France felt it would too explicitly authorize war in Iraq - simply summarized previous resolutions and declared Iraq's failure in authoritative terms. I was no longer ambigious about Iraq's failur to comply and promised "serious consequences." These same consequences were promised numerous times in previous resolutions, and acting after the fact like they never were meant to refer to military action is absurd.

In addition, your comparison of the situation to China invading Israel is totally bogus because - AFAIK - resolutions regarding Israel fall under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, and are functionally different from those regarding Iraq, which fall under Chapter VII and can be enforced by military action.

Wulfgar!: Are you claiming that Saddam was incapable of complying with UN resolutions? He wasn't required to prove that he didn't have any weapons. He was required to stop his weapons development programs, to allow inspections of suspicious activities in order to verify that no prohibited programs were ongoing, and to provide evidence that he had destroyed the weapons stockpiles the world knew he had (and I mean KNEW he had, not what the "best intelligence" suggested). He intentionally failed to do so. His report to the UNSC following Resolution 1441 was incomplete and deceptive. He was hiding his programs. He was in violation. He was not innocent and he was not harmless.
posted by techgnollogic at 5:23 PM on March 16, 2004


My take on this was that Rummy was confidently certain that he had never said "imminent threat" - they have done searches to make sure - but he got tangled and denied having said "immediate threat."
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:25 PM on March 16, 2004


Wulfgar!: Are you claiming that Saddam was incapable of complying with UN resolutions?

No, I think its pretty clear at this point that Saddam was incapable of satisfying the Bush-bloodlust. Inspectors had to be pulled from Iraq so that we could invade. What evidence has been found of weapons-development-like-related-possible-program-sorta-activities? A fucking radio controlled airplane. Bush stood in front of the American public and declared boldly that we won't answer to the rest of the world for our actions of death dealing. Yet you expect that a leader of another country would do so ... just because a frat boy in the White House demands it. Yes, the report from Iraq was incomplete. But you fall into the full-of-shit category when you leap (with no proof) into the comment : He was hiding his programs. He was in violation. Bullshit, bubba. Where are the programs? Just a little evidence (other than a centrifuge hidden under a Rose-garden for 12 years) would suffice. Anything? Nope. Notta. Just more lies from the bullshit powermongers who want Iraq for themselves.

No, Saddam was not innocent, and no one said he was. Was he not harmless? Prove it. Its that simple. Prove it. Rumsfeld couldn't do it on Face the Nation, what makes you think you can?
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:37 PM on March 16, 2004


Saddam agreed to the ceasefire. He could have complied with the United Nations. He was the master of his own undoing.
posted by techgnollogic at 5:46 PM on March 16, 2004


So are you trying to say that what we did was not illegal under international law?

I still know of no resolution authorizing the use of force or again authorizing ANYTHING beyond sanctions. You can point to the debate in the security council all you want to but the bottom line is there was not consensus there to invade Iraq nor was there authorization to do so. You can also try to make France the scapegoat in this but in reality if our resolution had been put to a vote the resolution in all likelihood it would not have had even a simple majority period.

There is no wiggle room on this without the "Imminent Threat" argument they were trying to use, we broke international law.

The Israeli comparison is valid though because it doesn't matter whether a resolution is a Chapter VI or Chapter VII both can be enforced via sanctions or military intervention and both need follow up resolutions approving the punishment. The difference is that in a Chapter VI resolution more than one country is held responsible and both are required to negotiate a solution.


And on preview:
Saddam agreed to the ceasefire. He could have complied with the United Nations. He was the master of his own undoing.

Ok I'll bite, which resolution was he in breach of at the time of our invasion? He claimed he did not have WMD's, he was allowing inspectors anywhere and everywhere, He had not invaded any other country...What was the justification at that time? I seem to recall very clearly that it was the WMD hunt, lying about WMD's, and imminent threat parts that was our justification.
posted by aaronscool at 5:56 PM on March 16, 2004


From UNSC Resolution 1441:

1. Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq’s failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the IAEA, and to complete the actions required under paragraphs 8 to 13 of resolution 687 (1991);

Colin Powell, October 7, 2003:

The interim findings of David Kay and the Iraq Survey Group make two things abundantly clear: Saddam Hussein's Iraq was in material breach of its United Nations obligations before the Security Council passed Resolution 1441 last November, and Iraq went further into breach after the resolution was passed.

Kay's interim findings offer detailed evidence of Hussein's efforts to defy the international community to the last. The report describes a host of activities related to weapons of mass destruction that "should have been declared to the U.N." It reaffirms that Iraq's forbidden programs spanned more than two decades, involving thousands of people and billions of dollars

posted by techgnollogic at 6:12 PM on March 16, 2004


Well to be honest with you I'd have to see the specifics in the report that said Iraq was in material breach of 1441 after it had passed and in the days leading up to the invasion.

I'm not inclined at this point and time to believe a whole lot of what Colin Powell has to say about Iraq...Fool me once and everything.

Still we had no legal authority to invade Iraq and whether or not we had any moral authority to do so is in serious question in my mind as well.
posted by aaronscool at 6:38 PM on March 16, 2004


"a country that posed little or no threat to its immediate neighbors, let alone a military superpower half a world away"

You forgot to add, "...and yet was also the most stable Muslim nation in the area!"

You know, before we fucked it all up. Saddam wasn't a nice guy. So fucking what. We make deals with thugs all the time. Qaidafi isn't a nice guy, either. Neither is Kim His Illin'ness. The amazing thing is, in both Iraq and Libya, you're surrounded by politically unstable nations filled with religious zealots (the bad kind, not the ones that wear white shirts and come knocking on your door), and yet there wasn't any threat of actual terrorism because the places are police states run by absolute dictators.

But in regions like this, your best bet at any semblance of stability is to make the people fear you more then they hate you. Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. is not scary to these guys. Now the lid is off Pandora's sandbox, and we're going to see some hardcore terrorism in the ensuing decade. Like I said, Nice. Fucking. Work.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:47 PM on March 16, 2004


aaronscool: you can go read Kay's preliminary report.

Wulfgar would probably call what Kay found "weapons-development-like-related-possible-program-sorta-activities" but judge for yourself.

When the ISG's final report comes out we'll know the finer details.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:56 PM on March 16, 2004


"A fucking radio controlled airplane."

Yes, and let's be clear about the drone issue. Radio controlled craft are "line of sight" machines, that is, the only way to guide one out of that line of sight (over mountains, across the ocean) is by using a network of AWACs or satellites, neither of which the Iraqis even dreamed of ever developing. I mention this because just the other day some meathead brought up the drone thing.
posted by 2sheets at 7:07 PM on March 16, 2004


Let us not forget the Damming "Drawing of a rocket engine"
That I did better when I was ten.
posted by Elim at 7:29 PM on March 16, 2004


Wulfgar, I think you're misunderstanding me (or vice versa?)... Let me be clear: what I'm saying is that the US had no business "removing" Hussein, last March or at any other time, particularly without the full and informed support of the entire United Nations. The world is no safer, no saner for his removal by our hideously unilateral descent into military madness than it was when he was still "in power."

What just cracks me up is this desperate after-the-fact justifying that the war-mongers are going through in their attmpt to convince us more rational folk that, all along, their real intent was to liberate all those poor, poor wittle Iraquis from icky icky Uncle Sadaam - which would be out-and-out hysterical if it weren't so pathetic. Obviously unable to admit they were utterly lied to by Rumsfeld, Cheney and their chimp-on-a-string Dubya, they now must pretend the bullshit we were fed by this Adminstration really never mattered in the first place because it's no longer the reason we went into Iraq? Right? Rrrrr-ight...
posted by JollyWanker at 7:37 PM on March 16, 2004


When the ISG's final report comes out we'll know the finer details.

Just out of curiosity, is this the final final report? Or will there be another final final final report after that before we can officially say there were no WMDs?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:14 PM on March 16, 2004


their real intent was to liberate all those poor, poor wittle Iraquis from icky icky Uncle Sadaam ...
Speaking of them (which no one does anymore I notice)-- UNICEF recently came out with a postwar report, which states, astonishingly enough, among other things that: UNICEF places most urgent priority on reactivating Iraq's primary education system. Attendance rates since the war have fallen further to an average of 65 per cent. Parents worried about overall security are reluctant to send their children to school, especially girls.

I thought the Iraqi schools were the one bright(ish) spot in all this horror? Lots more in that link, too.
posted by amberglow at 8:14 PM on March 16, 2004


the reason for invading Iraq was to stabilize the region against, what is now known, massive instability in the region.

happy happy penis puller?
posted by clavdivs at 8:23 PM on March 16, 2004


seriously, what planet are you people on?
posted by techgnollogic at 8:45 PM on March 16, 2004


the reason for invading Iraq was to stabilize the region against, what is now known, massive instability in the region.

happy happy penis puller?

It didn't work, and that region was no more unstable than any other (but not anymore since we invaded a country that did nothing to us)--and certainly more stable than Africa, for instance.

And if you mean that as a slur against me, go fuck yourself--or find someone to pull yours.
posted by amberglow at 9:10 PM on March 16, 2004


seriously, what planet are you people on?

The one where you don't start preemptive wars in unstable regions under false pretenses...oops you're right. What planet am I one!?!
posted by aaronscool at 9:31 PM on March 16, 2004


Armitage Shanks
The question really is When the final report comes out, I bet the final final final report will be Nov 12th or so, AFTER the election.
ANY TAKERS?
posted by Elim at 10:05 PM on March 16, 2004


I think what disturbs me most about this whole damnable thing, and the thing we're somehow so quick to forget is the very direct (and not even circumspect) role that the US and the CIA has and had with installing Hussein in the first place.

That the CIA funded and trained him to observe of, report on, and eventually overthrough Iraq's government so many decades ago.

That we turned a blind eye to Hussein invading Kuwait, to gassing the Kurds, to assasinating the marsh Arabs, to using chemical weapons in the Iran/Iraq war.

And that it's not just Iraq, but scores of countries.

And it's not like the CIA didn't know, or the NSA or the DoD didn't know. They've known all along, and we and practically the entire World community are getting raped - in the goriest, most violent and vile sense of the word imaginable - in the process.

Right wing, left wing, no wing left to shelter beneath. We're all getting screwed. Our children's children are getting screwed. What a goddamn waste.

The active distortion field responsible for all of this is so incredibly thick and pervasive that we somehow forget, and it fades into some sort of disturbing base-level noisebed we assume is normalcy and justice.

So many strings, so many puppets, so many puppeteers.

What a tangled web indeed. I don't think I can even spit straight anymore.
posted by loquacious at 11:07 PM on March 16, 2004


Well put.
posted by velacroix at 11:13 PM on March 16, 2004


This would be funny if it weren't for all the dead people.

Better not laugh ever. I've got bad news for you man.
posted by Satapher at 12:55 AM on March 17, 2004


All I see is people putting questions to the Bush/Blair administrations and supporters of the war, and them twisting and turning, dodging; using specious reasoning; saying look at what Saddam did in the Iran-Iraq war, and when challenged about US/UK support, in the next breath saying, look that's in the past, we need to look to the future.

And they're going to continue to twist and turn and contradict themselves so long as we just sit there and ask them questions and do nothing more. Even when challenging them with proof they did this and said that, they just say, well I meant this, and look ... over there!

Until these crooks are held to account in a court of law, this nonsense is going to keep on repeating.
posted by Blue Stone at 6:45 AM on March 17, 2004


What a tangled web indeed. I don't think I can even spit straight anymore.
indeed....


That we turned a blind eye to Hussein invading Kuwait.


right, did not do a thing.

That the CIA funded and trained him to observe of, report on, and eventually overthrough Iraq's government so many decades ago.

have a link to go with that shake?
here is some background to get you going.
posted by clavdivs at 9:39 AM on March 17, 2004


That we turned a blind eye to Hussein invading Kuwait.

Perhaps loquacious meant Iran.

Sources for the CIA-Saddam connection? Take your pick. I like this one, myself. There's also this one, if you prefer.
posted by skoosh at 7:25 AM on March 19, 2004


The C.I.A. aided Kassem, then al-bakr. Saddam did his own seizing of power.
posted by clavdivs at 8:05 AM on March 19, 2004


I guess you missed the part in the Global Policy Forum link that says, "Then, on Feb. 8, 1963, the conspirators staged a coup in Baghdad... among Baath party members colluding with the C.I.A. in 1962 and 1963 was Saddam Hussein, then a 25-year-old who had fled to Cairo after taking part in a failed assassination of Kassem in 1958." And later: "In 1968, after yet another coup, the Baathist general Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr seized control, bringing to the threshold of power his kinsman, Saddam Hussein. Again, this coup, amid more factional violence, came with C.I.A. backing."

And lastly, in the Frontline transcript: "There is absolutely no doubt that Saddam discussed his plans to invade Iran with King Hussein. There is considerable evidence that he discussed his plans to invade Iran with the CIA agents that King Hussein prevailed on him to meet with. "

Saddam was involved in several coups and coup attempts over the course of his career, not just his 1979 seizure of power. And in more than one of those coups, the CIA was also involved. Finally, he was still on cordial terms with the CIA even in 1979, as evidenced above.

Later on, of course, after the 1991 Gulf War, the CIA helped organize armed resistance among the Kurds in the 1990s against the Baathists in Iraq. But the old history still remains.
posted by skoosh at 9:48 AM on March 19, 2004


"He was the master of his own undoing."

At the hands of those who had already resolved to undo him -- a detail which is key.
posted by lathrop at 4:34 PM on March 19, 2004


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