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Thy Name be Cognitive Dissonance
June 17, 2004 11:39 PM   Subscribe

Bush Insists on Iraq-Al Qaeda Links Despite Report
Not knowing when to give up and admit that he was wrong, Mr. Bush is digging in his heels and insisting, in spite of the 9/11 commision's findings to the contrary, that Saddam Hussein and Al-Queda are linked.

Said Mr. Bush, "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda is because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."

I guess that'll be good enough for just under half the population.
posted by fenriq (90 comments total)

 
Hey, cool! I saw this here seventeen hours ago, and I was wondering if anyone else would see it!
posted by interrobang at 11:41 PM on June 17, 2004


Oh, SNAP!
posted by keswick at 11:48 PM on June 17, 2004


Fenriq Insists on News-Best-of-the-Web Links despite Non-Stop MeTaBitching.
Not knowing that one-link wonder FPPs with nothing but a single newswire URL are wrong, Mr. fenriq is digging MetaFilter further underneath the pile of shit which long ago fell on top of and covered it, insisting that the CNN headline-du-jour really is the best of the web.

Said Mr. Fenriq, "The reason I posted it to the homepage, is that it belongs on the homepage, so I put it on the homepage, which is why it's on the homepage."

I guess that'll be good enough for 50% of the wonderfucks who've been tearing up the Grey all week.
posted by scarabic at 11:53 PM on June 17, 2004


I'm glad I added you as a contact scarabic.
posted by loquax at 11:56 PM on June 17, 2004


Hey, cool! I saw this here seventeen hours ago,

Huh. All I saw was Octopus Love.
posted by weston at 12:12 AM on June 18, 2004


Bush, like another popular right-wing leader of a military superpower, believes in the big lie theory of disinformation.
posted by skallas at 12:12 AM on June 18, 2004


Don't forget Raputin's penis!
posted by interrobang at 12:14 AM on June 18, 2004


however, the Jews have known better than any others how falsehood and calumny can be exploited. Is not their very existence founded on one great lie, namely, that they are a religious community, where as in reality they are a race? And what a race! One of the greatest thinkers that mankind has produced has branded the Jews for all time with a statement which is profoundly and exactly true. Schopenhauer called the Jew "The Great Master of Lies". Those who do not realize the truth of that statement, or do not wish to believe it, will never be able to lend a hand in helping Truth to prevail.

What the hell is that doing in the WikiPedia?
posted by scarabic at 12:16 AM on June 18, 2004


/\ worthy of a FPP
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:19 AM on June 18, 2004


Its an excerpt from Mein Kampf
posted by skallas at 12:20 AM on June 18, 2004


Skallas, you know that by heart or something?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:22 AM on June 18, 2004


Looks like wikipedia commentators don't take this all that seriously. Apparently, it's been like this since September of last year. Creepy.
posted by interrobang at 12:24 AM on June 18, 2004


>Skallas, you know that by heart or something?

Its clearly labeled on the page and I know how to use google. Thanks for the back-handed insult, though!
posted by skallas at 12:27 AM on June 18, 2004


I never forget Rasputin's penis. I'm funny that way.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:28 AM on June 18, 2004


Google.
posted by skallas at 12:28 AM on June 18, 2004


Chill, skallas. I didn't find it all that clearly labelled, actually. So the whole page, from the words "All this was inspired by the principle..." on down, is from Mein Kampf?
posted by scarabic at 12:40 AM on June 18, 2004


Cheney blasts media on al Qaeda-Iraq link - why don't people want to discuss "mainstream news" here?
posted by mildred-pitt at 12:46 AM on June 18, 2004


From mildred-pitt's article:

In his CNBC interview, Cheney went a bit further. Asked if Iraq was involved in 9/11, he said, "We don't know."

"What the commission says is they can't find evidence of that,"


But are they involved in the rising price of dairy products!? The commission has no evidence of that -- but it could be true!
posted by namespan at 12:53 AM on June 18, 2004


skallas, you big dummy, you just aligned yourself rhetorically with Hitler.
posted by eddydamascene at 12:53 AM on June 18, 2004


Mildred: follow the last 3 links here, read all about it, and join in the fun yourself!

Also, check out the dark blue box on this page and read some of those linked discussions.

Further, see the 1st posting criterion, listed here: "most people haven't seen it before."
posted by scarabic at 1:00 AM on June 18, 2004


why don't people want to discuss "mainstream news" here?

Because we hate discussion. Unless you agree completely with my opinion in which case, I must kill you because I love you.
posted by Dagobert at 1:06 AM on June 18, 2004


scarabic:
ok, understood, but metafilter also discusses current events - and iraq is still huge.... why bother stopping it?
- i guess i disagree. personally - i think trying to stop discussion or opinion on iraq seems like a mistake.

namespan:
Yes, dairy products, exactly... I think they (the administration) are desperate.
posted by mildred-pitt at 1:15 AM on June 18, 2004


Mildred: if you'd like, let's continue this conversation over here.
posted by scarabic at 1:37 AM on June 18, 2004


Here's another connection mentioned in the 9/11 report that might be worthy of concern:
Similarly, Pakistan did not break with the Taliban until after 9/11, although it was well aware that the Taliban was harboring Bin Ladin. The Taliban’s ability to provide Bin Ladin a haven in the face of international pressure and UN sanctions was significantly facilitated by Pakistani support. Pakistan benefited from the Taliban-al Qaeda relationship, as Bin Ladin’s camps trained and equipped fighters for Pakistan’s ongoing struggle with India over Kashmir.
Meanwhile, President George W Bush has upgraded relations with Pakistan by formally naming it as a major non-Nato ally.
But in what our correspondent says is a strange irony of timing, the president's announcement coincided with a report from the commission investigating the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre.

It accused Islamabad of helping the Taleban to shelter Osama Bin Laden, saying that it had "significantly facilitated" his stay in Afghanistan prior to the attack.

But Pakistan later became a key US ally, dropping its support for the Taleban and allowing US troops to use its air bases and share intelligence.
posted by homunculus at 1:38 AM on June 18, 2004


Commission confirms links
A 9/11 commission staff report is being cited to argue that the administration was wrong about there being suspicious ties and contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda. In fact, just the opposite is true. The staff report documents such links.

The staff report concludes that:

• Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden "explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan."

• "A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting bin Laden in 1994."

• "Contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan."

Chairman Thomas Kean has confirmed: "There were contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda, a number of them, some of them a little shadowy. They were definitely there."

Following news stories, Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton said he did not understand the media flap over this issue and that the commission does not disagree with the administration's assertion that there were connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's government.

President Bush and members of his administration have said all along that there were contacts and that those contacts raised troubling questions.
so fenriq, do you know when to give up and admit that you were wrong? Or are you going to dig in your heels and proclaim that statements by the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the 9/11 commission aren't good enough for that other just under half of the population?
posted by David Dark at 2:00 AM on June 18, 2004


Here's a freaking news flash for all of you trying to defend the POTUS statements.

The U.S. had deeper "links" and/or "connections" with both Saddam and the Taliban than what has so far been presented as evidence between Saddam and al-Qaeda.

How? Well we supplied both intelligence, weapons and aid to both groups in their respective fights against Iran and Russia.

Dancing around with this kind of phrasing is pretty ludicrous because anyone who talks to anyone else even if it's to say "No I'm not helping you guys now leave me alone", is some kind of "connection". This is just plain B.S. and is indefensible logic.

The real point here that should be made is that some 60% of people think that Saddam was linked to 9/11. This was a myth propagated by the administration to encourage support for the war. The facts are their was no such link and people need to see that they were once again mislead and conned into a war that was unnecessary and unjustified.
posted by aaronscool at 2:14 AM on June 18, 2004


David Dark, that is an op/ed piece you're linking. It goes on to say:

Saddam had threatened American interests for more than a decade, harbored and assisted other terrorists, and possessed and used weapons of mass destruction.

Which is either false or misrepresented. Same old, same old.

On preview, what aaronscool said.
posted by magullo at 2:23 AM on June 18, 2004


ooh, a reuters news article. that is so worthy.

i hardly ever snark but jeez, this thread must die.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:23 AM on June 18, 2004


magullo, are you telling me that quotes from the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the 9/11 commission supporting Bush's statements aren't relevant in a thread about Bush's response to the 9/11 commission's report? Wonders never fucking cease.

The quotes from the report are the same quotes whether you read them in an op-ed piece or from the report itself. Here, read the same quotes from the report, not pulled out and bullet formatted for you. It really makes no difference where you read the words. You do understand that they're the same either place, correct?

The statement from the op-ed that you take issue with, is it false or is it misrepresented? Why can you not say for sure one way or the other, that it is definitely false or that it is definitely misrepresented? Why the ambiguity? If you can not say for sure which it is, how can you be sure that it is either? I'm confused by your confusion.

aaronscool, you are trying to argue the case that allies in wars that have been declared over have some bearing on wars that are currently underway. They don't.

The rest of your comments really have no bearing on this thread. However, to address a few of your errors, the US government has been consistent on their policy regarding a connection between Saddam and Al-qaeda, including justification for the Clinton administration's bombing of a Sudanese chemical plant in 1998:
The United States also claims it had other evidence linking the plant with chemical weapons production. That evidence includes links between officials at the facility in Sudan and an Iraqi official who has been labeled by U.S. intelligence as "the father of Iraq's chemical weapons program." The Iraqi, identified as Emad Al Ani, is said to have had extensive dealings with officials at the plant in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. That and the connection between terrorism sponsor Osama bin Laden and Sudan's "military industrial complex" were enough to convince the United States that the Shifa plant was involved in chemical weapons production, the official said.
So, what's the reasoning here, Clinton lied in 1998 to garner pre-war-support for a war that was still five years away? Wow, that's some serious far-reaching global planning in action.

You know, bin Laden's original indictment by the DOJ on November 4, 1998, had this to say:
Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezballah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.
More of Clinton's far-reaching conspiracy plans, or, quite a bit more than No I'm not helping you guys now leave me alone"

But these points, while semantically correct, are irrelevant to the Iraq war, since the administration never once claimed that the Iraq war was somehow in retaliation for Iraq's proven culpability in the 9/11 attacks. Where are your (non op-ed) links quoting administration officials on this? You won't find any. The idea is simply a myth propagated by your political affiliates to demand evidence of those connections only to then use that point as a means to discourage support for the war. Saddam Hussein's Iraq supported terrorism. No question about it. Whether or not Iraq had direct responsibility for a part of 9/11 is about as moot a point as you'll find.
posted by David Dark at 3:48 AM on June 18, 2004


David Dark is the devil.
posted by Outlawyr at 4:03 AM on June 18, 2004


David Dark's linked article isn't just any op-ed peice, but one written by Stephen J. Hadley, deputy national security adviser to President Bush.

Propoganda, anyone?
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:06 AM on June 18, 2004


So, what's the reasoning here, Clinton lied in 1998 to garner pre-war-support for a war that was still five years away?

It could be the case that, once again, the US reacted in a stupid over the top and unnecessarily violent way, flailing around like a miopic bully. Clinton had to 'do something' to show that he 'meant business', this bombing was a tragedy for the people of Sudan.

As any fule kno the secular regime of Saddam was anathema to Al Quaeda. They tolerated each other, if at all, due to their mutual enemies. It is clear to me that Saddam was effective in controlling Iraq to his advantage, which involved keeping religious groups weakened so that they were no threat to his rule.

Saddam Hussein's Iraq supported terrorism.

You mean everyone in the country? The government? The secret service? What do you mean by this? Do you honestly believe that the Iraq of today (and tomorrow and tommorrow and tommorrow...) is less blighted by terrorism than it was 2 years ago?

Assuming you, David Dark, live in the US; throwing stones in glass houses is not advisable.

The 'link' between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and 'terrorism' was promoted by the US anthrax killer of 2001, who wanted to encourage an invasion. Anybody got an update on the prosecution of this murderer?

< side note>One has to love the US to hang around in the US-centric atmosphere at Metafilter. Sometimes the inability to see beyond US borders is suffocatingly restictive to discussion.< /side>
posted by asok at 4:47 AM on June 18, 2004


David Dark is the devil


nah, DD is funnier (not to mention that Satan fell "like lightning from Heaven", literally Lucifer is The One Who Brings Light -- not much speed, or light for that matter, in DD's comments).
it's interesting to see the gung-ho IraqAttaq contigent still trying to justify the unjustifiable. no wmd's, 800+ dead GI's, a busted budget, Rumsfeld's torture chambers, the aluminum tubes, that zany Chalabi prankster, a cute puppet government headed by a CIA asset, a car bomb a day (or more)...
the IraqAttaq apologists are looking funnier and funnier -- their support for this horrible blood-soaked mess looks increasingly more ridiculous.
last summer they still had some rhetorical ammo, so to speak. but this is not 2003 anymore, this is summer 2004 -- in a post-Abu Ghraib world they're just a laughingstock, really
"moral clarity", indeed
posted by matteo at 5:08 AM on June 18, 2004


Does that commission's report list all the times Osama threatened Iraq with destruction for being a secular, western-leaning country?

aaron's absolutely right--we had far more and deeper links and connections with Saddam and Iraq than Osama or Al Qaeda. For that matter, we had links and connections (and funded and supported) Al Qaeda.
posted by amberglow at 5:25 AM on June 18, 2004


Hey, it all makes sense now—what do Saddam and Al Qaeda have in common? A former friendly relationship with the United States! There, gentlemen, is your connection.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 5:50 AM on June 18, 2004


Literal quote from David Dark's useful (thanks!) link:

Bin Ladin also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to Hussein’s secular regime. Bin Ladin had in fact at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded Bin Ladin to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Ladin in 1994. Bin Ladin is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded. There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after Bin Ladin had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior Bin Ladin associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States.

As for

Saddam had threatened American interests for more than a decade, harbored and assisted other terrorists, and possessed and used weapons of mass destruction.

A) Saddam's regime was under an international embargo and under constant air attacks on its "no fly" zone from the US and Uk during that same decade. He was possibly pissed at those countries in return, but was unable to do anything about it. This is misrepresented.

B) Terrorism ... Lots to say here, but I'll boil it down to one: Saddam did not harbor nor finance terrorists that were planning attacks on US soil. Unlike, if I may add, one of your currently closest allies: Pakistan. This is misrepresented and possibly false.

C) WMDs? Do I need to go there? Plain and simple, false now, misrepresented back then when he was a) using them b) chummy with the US.
posted by magullo at 6:02 AM on June 18, 2004


Hmm. Think you might be begging the question there George.
posted by ed\26h at 7:08 AM on June 18, 2004


How many times must it be repeated that BushCo deliberately misrepresented the reasons for attacking Iraq?

When you mention 9-11 and Iraq in the same sentence inside a thousand different speeches it makes it fair to say that BUSH LIED, PEOPLE DIED, and he continues lying while people continue dying. Their blood is all on his head.

I don't see where or how that is so hard to understand.
posted by nofundy at 7:11 AM on June 18, 2004


It’s refreshing to see, magullo, that your comments are only as fallacious, as opposed to more fallacious, than Mr. Bush’s.
posted by ed\26h at 7:13 AM on June 18, 2004


I have also determined that the use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
George W. Bush, Letter to Congress, March 23, 2003.
This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda.
George W. Bush, June 17, 2004

Iraq is not a terrorist organization, and didn't plan, authorize, commit, or aid the September 11 attacks.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:39 AM on June 18, 2004


scarabic, hey, if you don't like to read any posts about Iraq then don't. Don't attack me for pointing out what a complete and utter moron George Bush is, oh wait, am I allowed to discuss Bush here still or have you, oh great and wondrous knower of all things MetaFilter, decreed that Bush is no longer discussable here either.

In other words, quit your whining and pass over stories that don't meet your FPP criteria. I'll continue to post stories and articles that I feel are relevant to the community. If that includes stories demonstrating how truly out of touch with reality Bush is, then I will post them.

Get over yourself and get off the thread if it upsets you so much.

On a side note, Reuters articles aren't valid? What? Explain how you can casually dismiss one of the world's largest and most syndicated news agencies? Oh wait, because they publish articles that bash your guy? Oooh, that's valid.
posted by fenriq at 7:39 AM on June 18, 2004


Corddry: How does one report the facts in an unbiased way when the facts themselves are biased?

Stewart: I’m sorry, Rob, did you say the facts are biased?

Corddry: That’s right Jon. From the names of our fallen soldiers to the gradual withdrawal of our allies to the growing insurgency, it’s become all too clear that facts in Iraq have an anti-Bush agenda.
posted by the fire you left me at 7:54 AM on June 18, 2004


fenriq, scarabic didn't say it was invalid, Matt did.
posted by loquax at 7:59 AM on June 18, 2004


ed\26h Buahahahaha. You know, I could claim that hey, I'm not presenting them as undeniable reasons to go to war. But I'm curious to know which part of a) the embargo and no-fly zones, b) Pakistan's support for Al-Qaeda (not to mention the Bush admin flying out the family of the mastermind behind the WTC attack) and c) WMDs do you find fallacious.
posted by magullo at 8:04 AM on June 18, 2004


loquax, if Matt thought this post was invalid then he would have deleted it. Since he didn't, I can only assume that he thought it had merit.

Much to yours and scarabic's chagrin.
posted by fenriq at 8:34 AM on June 18, 2004


Yup, you're right. Either that or he hasn't gotten around to it yet.
posted by loquax at 8:38 AM on June 18, 2004


It's a major enough turn of events to warrant a thread, so quit belly-aching and keep discussing.
posted by mathowie at 9:18 AM on June 18, 2004


OK, but then what is the story here? That George Bush continues to say what he's been saying for three years now? That others disagree with what he claims?

And really, this is what the article linked to says:

"This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda," Bush said. "We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda."

The bipartisan commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks did say there had been contact between Iraqis and al Qaeda members, including a Sudan meeting between al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence officers. But the panel concluded that Iraq never responded to a bin Laden request for help and said there was no evidence of a "collaborative relationship."


So what's the big deal in this story? Other than partisan politics heating up? If it's that Bush is a thief, and a liar, and eveything bad, then it's certainly not a new topic for discussion around here.
posted by loquax at 10:02 AM on June 18, 2004


loquax, the point is that the 9/11 commission has found no links between Saddam and Al Qaeda after much investigation but that's still not good enough for Bush, he continues to insist that there are links.

Rehashing Bush is a liar, thief, drunk, failure blah, blah, blah isn't news and that's not what I intended to post about.

I intended to post about the fact that Bush is deciding for himself, in spite of numerous findings to the contrary, that he knows there are links but can't provide evidence.

The question I have is what does he have to gain or lose by admitting that there are no links? And isn't that the real reason he refuses to accept the truth?

By the way, AP News Wire and Reuters are two entirely different news animals. AP picks up articles where ever they find them where Reuters actually writes the stories they post. One is an aggregator, the other is a generator. That's why that post you linked to was deleted.

And believe me, Matt's deleted a good number of my FPP's because they aren't relevant anymore.
posted by fenriq at 10:18 AM on June 18, 2004


What the President has said:

1. "Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al-Qaeda." Jan. 28, 2003


2. "Acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." from a March 18, 2003, letter the president sent to Congress authorizing the use of military force against Iraq

3. "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th....There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al-Qaeda ties." Sept. 17, 2003

4. "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al-Qaeda (is) because there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda. This administration never said that the 9-11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al-Qaeda. We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda." June 17, 2004

So we have a president who has explicitly stated a working relationship between Saddam and al-Qaeda (statement 1), gave as a justification for the war with Iraq a connection between Saddam and 9/11 (statement 2), backtracking on the 9/11 connection but continuing to instist there are connections between Saddam and al-Qaeda (statement 3), instisting to this day that there is a connection (statement 4).

Now, what is news is that the bipartisan 9/11 commission has concluded that there may have been a few meetings between Saddam's regime and al-Qaeda but that no relationship came out of it. Meaning NO connection between 9/11 and Saddam and meaning NO connection between al-Qaeda operations and Saddam. Meaning NO justification for invading Iraq on the grounds that Saddam was involved in 9/11 OR aiding al-Qaeda in other terrorist operations. Taking that news in addition to no found WMD program and you have no justification for invading Iraq in terms of a danger to the U.S. or furthering the war on terrorism.
posted by gwint at 10:28 AM on June 18, 2004


OK, apologies if I was too obnoxious, maybe I got carried away.

I intended to post about the fact that Bush is deciding for himself, in spite of numerous findings to the contrary, that he knows there are links but can't provide evidence. The question I have is what does he have to gain or lose by admitting that there are no links? And isn't that the real reason he refuses to accept the truth?

This is what the commission itself says:

The bipartisan commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks did say there had been contact between Iraqis and al Qaeda members, including a Sudan meeting between al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence officers.

There *were* links. The bipartisan committee said so. The nature of which and ensuing danger from is anybody's guess. They also said there was no evidence of a collaborative relationship, whatever that means. This is not the same as "they were meeting only to exchange recipes and we can prove it". Bush chooses to believe that the links would have resulted in death and destruction. Many others choose to believe that it's not a big deal and that Bush took it too seriously, or something. Which is each side's prerogative.

But as for your question, it is invalid on the face of the committee's findings, and George Bush is accepting the truth by agreeing with the commission that Al Qaeda had contact with Iraqi officials.
posted by loquax at 10:44 AM on June 18, 2004


people fussing about newsfilter on mefi are akin to people fussing about dupes on slashdot.

get over it people.
posted by y0bhgu0d at 10:54 AM on June 18, 2004


The thing that bothers me most about Bush and Cheney essentially saying the commission is wrong is that Cheney, when asked about whether he knew more than the commission, replied "Probably." If that is the case, then perhaps Mr. Cheney has done something illegal by withholding information from the commission. At minimum it should mean that he and Mr. Bush should have spent MORE time rather than less in giving their testimony.
posted by terrapin at 10:55 AM on June 18, 2004


I'm sorry loquax, I think you (and Bush) are really grasping at straws here. Kevin Drum says it better than I can:

Basically, it's this: were there ever any connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda? Of course there were. This is the Middle East, after all: everyone has connections of some kind with al-Qaeda. But despite years of concentrated work from the best best intelligence agencies in the world and the equally concentrated efforts of conservative conspiracy theorists to spin airy wisps of dross into gold, it's clear that those connections were (a) infrequent, (b) far in the past, and (c) never amounted to anything.


So did Iraq have zero contact with al-Qaeda? No. But that's not the point. What's telling — and never acknowledged by war supporters — is how little contact Iraq had with them despite enormous opportunity. At a guess, I'd say that the following countries all had (and have) far greater contact with al-Qaeda than Iraq did:

Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan

And several others

A dozen contacts in a dozen years is not proof of a Saddam-al-Qaeda connection. Just the opposite, in fact. To suggest otherwise would be like documenting the small number of occasions that George Bush has consulted with Democrats and pretending that means he's really a liberal. Frankly, given Iraq's circumstances — Arab country, centrally located, large, unfriendly to the U.S. — their minuscule contact with al-Qaeda indicates a pretty positive effort on their part to avoid them.
posted by gwint at 11:00 AM on June 18, 2004


What I find interesting is that despite all evidence to the contrary people will continue to hold on to views that are demonstrably false. Facts are not effective weapons to use against these types because they ignore then or view them from a completely different perspective.
posted by euphorb at 11:03 AM on June 18, 2004


Facts such as we are discussing here are not facts like what is two plus two. There clearly were some links between Saddam and al Qaeda. The real question is how extensive were those links and were they so extensive as to justify starting a war? You can try to paint this as just a matter of perceptual difference between Bush and the Commission - Bush felt the links were substantial enough to justify war and the Commission did not. However, from what we are told of these links they seem pretty minimal. I just can not believe that Bush/Cheney still believe that they were that substantial. Rather, I think they are watching their publicly stated justifications for war slip away and are frantically trying to protect what little plausibility remains in this particular justification. It is just spin, nothing more, for them to keep claiming these links justified the war.
posted by caddis at 11:29 AM on June 18, 2004


Gwint. Here's where I'm coming from. I supported the overthrow of Hussein by the Americans, but I always thought the connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda was bullshit. The WMD stuff wasn't as clear cut, as most of the world assumed he was hiding stuff, but I didn't really care about that either.

I thought it was a great idea because Hussein sucked, the people were miserable, etc etc etc. I don't mean to argue that here, just to demonstrate that were many many other factors that went into the decision to go to war beyond terrorism links.

The fact that the terrorism links are dubious (and I agree) was almost a foregone conclusion from day 1 as I recall. Therefore why is this a big deal? Bush says, "Iraq and Al Qaeda hang out all the time and scheme", others say "they mostly just see each other at weddings and exchange pleasantries". Fine. Whatever. Nobody as far as I know on this planet can say what Hussein or Bin Laden knew or didn't know. You want Bush to say "9/11 commission, in light of your interpretation of some evidence that Iraqis meeting terrorists was not a big deal, I'm going to take it all back and say I was crazy"? That's not going to happen. And not because he's Bush and evil, but because that's not how politicians operate. If you're going to be upset about this, you're going to spend a lot of time shaking your fist at the government.

So I really can't see anything to this beyond partisan mud-slinging. Like someone else said, it's pretty much like the Republicans ripping on Clinton for Kosovo. If, on the other hand, someone was able to bring forward audiotape of Bush and Cheney sitting around the fire, laughing and talking about how they knew that their evidence was bullshit and how they were going to love the look on Chirac's face when they ignore the security council, that would be very interesting.
posted by loquax at 11:32 AM on June 18, 2004


loquax: I see where you're coming from. Here's my feeling: I tepidly supported the war, but most of my support came from the evidence given by the administration that Iraq posed a serious threat to our national security. The idea of Saddam with nukes scared the shit out of me and it made me think that maybe Saddam was in fact a greater threat in the short term than Al-Qaeda because of this supposed massive WMD program. Saddam was an evil dictator and I'm glad he's gone but when there appears to be an imminent threat to my country, then I believe that should be our nation's top priority, not a war of choice liberating a suffering nation. So, with that said, when all those justifications turned out to be bullshit, and the post-invasion was managed so poorly, it started to become very clear to me that this war had come at the expense of fighting our real enemies, the ones that are trying to destroy us. And THAT is why this news is so distrurbing to me. Because I have come to believe that the priorities of the current administration are so far from where they should be in regards to fighting our true enemies-- exhibit 1 being the fact that Bush STILL believes this crap about a Saddam-Qaeda link. So no, I don't believe that this is all about partisan bickering. I think it is about a debate about how best to fight our enemy, a debate that Bush has lost but refuses to accept.
posted by gwint at 12:03 PM on June 18, 2004


So here is my real beef. I never really believed that Iraq had substantial ties to Al Qaeda much less 9-11 and that any WMD's they had were only remnants of the stockpiles and factories they once held were certainly no threat to the US.

These were my pre-war beliefs that in most opinion polls I found myself to be in the vast minority. These two beliefs were the foundation of the majority support for the war in Iraq.

Now a year later all the facts show that indeed there was no tangible connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Infrequent communication (aka "links" in POTUS speak) but no real cooperation or support from one to the other. No evidence of WMD's have been found at all (surprising even to me I'll admit).

So the question everyone should really be asking is if these facts were apparent at the start of the War would most people have supported it then?

I think the answer to this is most certainly no.
posted by aaronscool at 12:38 PM on June 18, 2004


...not a war of choice liberating a suffering nation.

You have a point there. As a non-USian, maybe I was not subject to the full brunt of the pre-overthrow rhetoric, and was thus able to take the "imminent threat" argument less personally and separate if from the "geopolitical benefit and alleviation of suffering" rationale.

when all those justifications turned out to be bullshit

I do think that's too strong a word. They were wrong, or misguided to one extent or the other. But everyone believed there were weapons there. Germany, France, Blix, Canada, Clinton, whoever. They just disagreed on the best way to solve the problem, and not on the grounds that attention would be diverted from the problem of terrorism, but on the principle of international law and/or moral justification. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that back then, people though Bush was an asshole and a bully, not a liar and a trickster. Everyone was wrong on this one, but I haven't heard one person admit to it, and can't believe that I ever will. (Except for me, I totally though there would be scuds filled with poison all over the place. I was very very wrong.)

it started to become very clear to me that this war had come at the expense of fighting our real enemies, the ones that are trying to destroy us.

To an extent I agree. In that the hundreds of billions could have been spent on, I don't even know what. Stuff. For fighting terrorists. But I don't agree fully. There are still 20,000 US troops in Afghanistan, the American presence in Central Asia is dramatically higher that what it was pre-9/11, pressure on foreign governments to deal with domestic terrorists has increased to varying degrees. In March 2003, if I had told you what was going to happen in Iraq, and asked you for an alternative plan for fighting terrorism, what would you have said? The US was chasing them all over the place, and arresting them where they could find them, but what else can you do to combat a nationless force that has a far lower profile than any conventional enemy, the kind of enemy that the US is designed to fight.

In a way, the US brought the fight to them, instead of waiting for more attacks and reprisals. Hussein and WMD''s aside for a moment, the government's thinking I'm sure was "when we take Iraq, it will become target number 1 for all radical Islamic terrorists, distracting them from the US. In Iraq, we can fight them with tanks and drones and special forces and whatever and not have to coordinate with foreign sovereign governments because we'll be in charge. When we beat them, and make Iraq into a strong democracy that's capable of doing of holding it's own, it will have been a grand victory against terrorism and the cause of Al Qaeda, as well as getting rid of a nutjob and helping out those people." Maybe I'm way off, and that wasn't the thinking, but I have to believe it was something along those lines. If it was, it seems pretty sound in terms of promoting democracy, fighting terrorism, and removing threats to peace.

Of course, the plan may fail in the long term, in which case fault the administration for failing, but not necessarily for the motives or intentions behind the action.

exhibit 1 being the fact that Bush STILL believes this crap about a Saddam-Qaeda link. So no, I don't believe that this is all about partisan bickering. I think it is about a debate about how best to fight our enemy, a debate that Bush has lost but refuses to accept.

This is where we disagree. I don't think he still believes it, but what can he do? He's trying to get re-elected. There is no chance that he or any politician in the midst of a campaign would admit a grandiose failure in judgement such as this.

I think it's entirely possible to examine and debate the strategy employed by the administration and the army in fighting terrorism or Iraq's fall and subsequent time in limbo while removing the grandstanding and politicking of GWB. By all means, vote against him if you don't like the way he did things, but I think to call the war in Iraq a failure because one of Bush's predictions didn't come true is a fallacy. Bush being wrong is reason to criticize the man and the administration, not the action or the results thereof.

For example, I think the current Canadian government is full of some of the biggest liars and thieves around. They shuttled funds to political friends who were presumably helping the Federal government keep Quebec in Canada.

Now, Paul Martin who was finance minister at the time refuses to admit to wrongdoing in the midst of his Prime Ministerial campaign, even though it's obvious that he and his government were breaking the law. But I don't blame him for denying it. And I don't even blame the Liberals for doing whatever they though was necessary to keep the country united. But I will vote against them despite the positive outcome of their crummy action.

Just like I would likely vote against Bush, while acknowledging that he did some good things and had generally positive intentions. I just don't think it's worth it to get so upset about behaviour on his part that is so quintessentialy political.

Sorry, that was way too long, and probably got a little convoluted along the way. I'm not in total disagreement with the case you state, just with the vehemence with which you state it relative to this particular article.
posted by loquax at 12:55 PM on June 18, 2004


fenriq: I'm pretty sure that Bush isn't scarabic's "guy". He sure as hell isn't mine. Matt says this post is acceptable. He's the one that matters. However, he has discouraged one-link posts to prominent news stories in the past, and just in the last few days has deleted a one-link, prominent and breaking story that was a link to the AP, and his reason was something like, "AP wire story??" or something to that effect. So, whatever the reasoning of Matt's that your post is acceptable, it's the case that as a general rule posts like yours are at least on shaky ground. This is a huge continuing argument in MetaTalk. It's true that lots of the anti-newsfilter people are conservatives that don't like the liberal newsfilter posts. But, I'm pretty sure scarabic is to the left and I know damn well I am—in at least our two cases it's not ideology that we think is the problem. Your post came right on the heels of a newsfilterish post Matt had only deleted minutes before and during (yet another) heated discussion about the newsfilter issue in MeTa. Scarabic lost it (meaning he went a little nuts), and he shouldn't have, but that's the context.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:24 PM on June 18, 2004


I guess this book and article are just baloney, eh?

Only in America would there be a commission to investigate *us* rather than *our enemies*.

The Connection : How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America by Stephen F. Hayes http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060746734

Article
http ://www.weeklystandard.com/content/public/articles/000/000/004/152lndzv.asp
posted by dand at 2:12 PM on June 18, 2004


OMG! A right wing pundit wrote a book using anonymous sources, contradicting a bipartisan commission with access to all sorts of classified material-- he must be right! I'm sure the WMDs will turn up soon too.
posted by gwint at 2:30 PM on June 18, 2004


oh and:

Only in America would there be a commission to investigate *us* rather than *our enemies*.

Should we be doing both? Shouldn't we investigate the ways in which we were unprepared for attacks like 9/11 so we can improve the next time as well as figuring out how to destroy our enemies?
posted by gwint at 2:34 PM on June 18, 2004


In a way, the US brought the fight to them, instead of waiting for more attacks and reprisals.

Except "them" is Iraq, which didn't have WMD and wasn't cooperating with Al Qaeda. And the problem with the flypaper theory is that "the terrorists" (as if they were all in one worldwide club) don't seem to want to play ball, and prefer to attack in places like Bali, Madrid, and Riyadh. According to the State Department, "a sharp increase [in terrorist attacks] over the previous year."

In March 2003, if I had told you what was going to happen in Iraq, and asked you for an alternative plan for fighting terrorism, what would you have said?

Finish the half-ass job we did going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Keep Pakistan from becoming a Quickie Mart for nuclear technology. Engage North Korea instead of letting them renew their nuclear weapons program. Spend $87 billion on promoting democracy and reform in the Middle East and developing alternative energy methods. Re-examine our ties with oppressive, non-democratic governments. Find the people who have attacked the US Congress with chemical weapons twice since September 11.

If we have to go to war, make sure the reasons we cite for going to war are supported by facts. If the president says a countries a threat to us and we have to go to war, that must be true. And, while everyone agrees Saddam Hussein was an awful person and it'd be great if Iraq was democratic (that is, if that's what the people of Iraq want) those were not our justifications for going to war.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:47 PM on June 18, 2004


I have already sent my profuse apology to fenriq. I am no Bush lover, believe me, fenriq. My outrage (inappropriately expressed) was about this post's quality, not its politics. Matt apparently judges these things on a news-item by news-item basis. I give up. I can't possibly fathom his deletion standards.
posted by scarabic at 3:54 PM on June 18, 2004


In a way, the US brought the fight to them, instead of waiting for more attacks and reprisals.

I'm saying that was at least partially the idea, along with democratizing Iraq and making it a shining example for the rest of the Middle East. Was the strategy flawed? Maybe, so far. Who knows? What would the state of the world be had the US not went to Iraq? I don't know. Maybe better in the short term.

Finish the half-ass job we did going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

What are your criteria for success in going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan? Why do you say it was half-ass? How would you propose they go about it?

Keep Pakistan from becoming a Quickie Mart for nuclear technology.


How? Invading them? Bribing them? Propping up Musharaff? I firmly agree with your sentiment. I have no idea how to prevent this.

Engage North Korea instead of letting them renew their nuclear weapons program.

Engage how? Has the US allowed North Korea to renew their nuclear weapons program? How can you stop them? Invade them?

Spend $87 billion on promoting democracy and reform in the Middle East and developing alternative energy methods.

Fully agree with developing energy alternatives. I don't think 87 billion is close to what's required to do that. And I doubt very much that money would make much of a difference in encouraging democracy in the Middle East. If they had done this, how many more people would have died in Iraq during the rest of Hussein's rule? The opportunity cost of spending those billions on anything else is not deposing a brutal dictator blah blah blah who beyond anything else slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people.

Re-examine our ties with oppressive, non-democratic governments.


Totally agree. Where do you propose we start? Saudi Arabia? What should we do? Invade? Stop using oil? That's glib, sorry, but it's a lot easier said than done. And that objective is not mutually exclusive to deposing Hussein. In fact, pressure has been applied to many governments, to varying degrees to crack down on money, travel, passport fraud, arresting suspected terrorists, etc.

Find the people who have attacked the US Congress with chemical weapons twice since September 11.

It would also be nice if instead of invading Iraq, the Bush administration found the perpetrators of every unsolved crime. But that's a bit of a pipe dream, and it doesn't really have much to do with Iraq.

Read the famous WMD state of the union address again, and see all of the reasons that Bush gave for going into Iraq, and who he cites as the sources behind the figures. It wasn't as simple as you state, before the benefit of hindsight.
posted by loquax at 4:28 PM on June 18, 2004


scarabic, thanks for taking the time to write. I understand how the heat of the moment can cause a boil over, believe me, I'm a commuter!

No harm, no foul and I will take the lesson to heart and attempt to post better supported FPP's. I'll try but that doesn't mean I'll always succeed!

There has been a lot of good discussion on this topic though and that's really what I was after (well, that and I had to put that election slap-slap in there).

By the way, even Old Man Bush is down on how his son's been handling the Iraq situation but hasn't said much publicly because damn does it look bad to have your dad call you out! I'm off to read more MeFi!

On Preview: loquax, I'd say success in Afghanistan starts with actually capturing the guy who IS responsible for 9/11, wouldn't you say? Unless, of course, Bush has Osama all bundled and ready to trot out three weeks before election day.
posted by fenriq at 4:32 PM on June 18, 2004


fenriq: Sure, I totally agree that Bin Laden must be caught, assuming he's still alive and whatnot. But does that mean that all other American activity must come to a complete halt while he's hunted for? How many troops do you want to send to Afghanistan to look for him? 40,000? 100,000?
posted by loquax at 4:39 PM on June 18, 2004


It'd be easier to send more troops to Afghanistan if they weren't already committed to Iraq.

And no, I don't think all other action should be halted but it seems to me that finding Osama has been a very much back burner issue for ShrubCo.

When I think of 9/11 I think of two things, one is that Osama ruined my damned birthday forever and that two, we should be using as many of our vast resources to track him down and snuff him and Al Qaeda out of existence.
posted by fenriq at 4:43 PM on June 18, 2004


But fenriq, the law of diminishing returns applies to snuffing Al Qaeda out of existence. I would argue that 20,000 soldiers in Afghanistan would be just slightly less effective that 40,000. And catching whoever's left now will be much more difficult that catching whoever they have so far.

How is anyone to know how much more effort is required? Al Qaeda hasn't attacked the US since 9/11. Does that mean they're finished? Probably not. Does it mean they'll attack again? Who knows? How many resources do you want to dedicate to Al Qaeda compared to anything else? Obviously, the judgement of the administration for whatever reasons was that the money, equipment, troops and political goodwill would be better spent in Iraq as part of the long term strategy. Maybe it will fail, but it doesn't mean that they don't give a shit about Al Qaeda, or at least, I fail to see how it does.
posted by loquax at 4:58 PM on June 18, 2004


No harm, no foul and I will take the lesson to heart and attempt to post better supported FPP's. I'll try but that doesn't mean I'll always succeed!

Dude. Thank you. You are a huge man. This is a collaborative effort, and I really appreciate anyone who is open to feedback. Sorry I fucked it all up at first.
posted by scarabic at 5:04 PM on June 18, 2004


What are your criteria for success in going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan? Why do you say it was half-ass? How would you propose they go about it?

OMG. You aren't seriously suggesting that the Afghan effort isn't half-assed, are you? The fucking rebels have taken over the capital city again, half the world has peacekeepers being killed there, and the US basically buggered off to go play in the Iraqi desert.

The US effort in Afghanistan is nothing if not half-assed.

If they had done this, how many more people would have died in Iraq during the rest of Hussein's rule?

This is going to sound very cruel but who the fuck cares? The situation in Iraq obviously wasn't so bad that the citizens decided to do something about it.

How many Iraqis would have died if they'd rebelled and overthrown the Hussein apparatus? How many have died because the USA decided to get a war on? I'll wager it'd have come out about even=steven... and if it had been the Iraqis who did it, there'd have been no blame passed to the USA for the results.

If the Iraqis had started a civil war to overthrow Hussein, it'd have been mighty fine for the world governments to step in and say "Right, well, you've shown us you're serious about change: we'll help."

But the citizenry apparently wasn't so put upon as to finally decide it was time to do or die. Instead, the USA decided to make that decision for them. How appallingly rude.

I know, I know: I'm a heartless bastard for thinking it's okay for Iraqis to be tortured to death by Saddam and his evil children. Oh, well. Guess it's okay that I'm not in charge, then.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:12 PM on June 18, 2004


But the citizenry apparently wasn't so put upon as to finally decide it was time to do or die.

Not to open a whole new kettle of fish, but you can't seriously suggest that the people of Iraq had any capability to dissent, or rebel or do anything but exactly what Mr. Hussein said, can you? If that's your argument against doing what the Americans did, then we are very much in disagreement.
posted by loquax at 5:22 PM on June 18, 2004


Umm. I swear I didn't mean that pun.
posted by loquax at 5:23 PM on June 18, 2004


Geez, scarabic, I feel like we should hug and get a beer!
posted by fenriq at 5:32 PM on June 18, 2004


magullo:

Unfortunately “Buahahahaha” is not a valid argument.

B) Arbitrary inference.

C) Arbitrary inference; Tu Quoque
posted by ed\26h at 6:43 PM on June 18, 2004


there's a tear in my beer
cause i'm crying over here
posted by bargle at 7:30 PM on June 18, 2004


What are your criteria for success in going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan? Why do you say it was half-ass?
The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.
U.S. Concludes Bin Laden Escaped at Tora Bora Fight:
Failure to Send Troops in Pursuit Termed Major Error
, Washington Post, April 17, 2002.
Taliban fighters, paid and trained by al Qaeda, are pouring into Afghanistan from Pakistan, the top American commander in Afghanistan said Sunday.
Taliban Pouring Into Afghanistan, CBS News, September 7, 2003.

How can you stop [North Korea]? Invade them?

Well, if say you're going to attack a country for developing nuclear weapons and kicking out UN inspectors, you could start with the country that actually did those things, instead of the country that didn't.

And I realize that going to war with North Korea or commiting to getting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan would be difficult and cost a lot of casualties, which is exactly why the administration isn't forcing the issue there. They want a slam dunk, not an actual struggle that may be drawn-out and difficult. Bush wants to be a wartime president, but without the war.

Where do you propose we start? Saudi Arabia?

Yep. Fifteen of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia (and none are from Iraq). Bin Laden's from Saudi Arabia.
President Bush refused on Tuesday to release a congressional report alleging possible links between Saudi Arabian officials and the Sept. 11 hijackers...Sources tell CBS the redacted section lays out a money trail between Saudi Arabia and supporters of al Qaeda.
Bush Won't Reveal Saudi 9/11 Info, CBS News, July 30, 2003.

Here's the war rationale I got from the State of the Union address (and please let me know if I missed something):
As part of the offensive against terror, we are also confronting the regimes that harbor and support terrorists, and could supply them with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
Iraq didn't "harbor and support terrorists" (except for Abu Musab Zarqawi, who Bush passed on attacking three times, and didn't have weapons to supply anyone with.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:24 PM on June 18, 2004


I'm interested to see how BushCo deals with the Sauds, now that there's been a beheading there. I wonder if there'll finally be pressure on the al Saud family to get their shit together and finally deal with the bin Laden supporters.

You can't seriously suggest that the people of Iraq had any capability to dissent

There have been at least 10000 civilian deaths during this stupid war. You can't seriously suggest that if 10000 civilians had picked up a gun and held a revolution, the Hussein government would have withstood the onslaught.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:44 PM on June 18, 2004


Saddam-Bin Laden-Bacon link
posted by homunculus at 10:59 PM on June 18, 2004


What are your criteria for success in going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan?

Yes, you have identified some mistakes made in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2003. So again, how do you propose we determine that NATO and US action in Afghanistan has been a total success, as opposed to the partial success it is today? Totally problem free inside of 3 years after 100 of turmoil and poverty? Western levels of political discourse and freedoms instantly after 10 years of the Taliban? Catching every single one of the tens if not hundreds of thousands of Al Qaeda/Taliban type baddies? Seriously, Afghanistan today is much better off than in 2001. It's future has much more potential than in did in 2001. It is the ongoing responsibility of the international community to ensure that that potential is not squandered. The fact that Bin Laden has not been caught, or that there have been setbacks, or that it will continue to be a struggle for Afghanis and the world for decades is not the abject failure you describe. I would argue that so far, Afghanistan has been a success, all things considered.

Where do you propose we start? Saudi Arabia?

I asked this question after you said that the US should "Re-examine our ties with oppressive, non-democratic governments". I know that Saudi Arabia is a scummy place in terms of support for international terrorism. I said so in my response to you. I don't question that. I ask what strategy you or anyone else would propose to "re-examine ties" with Saudi Arabia. As long as the world relies on Middle Eastern and particularly Saudi oil, we cannot ignore, isolate, or antagonize them. It sucks, but that is the current reality. In light of that, the choices are A) Live with shitty regimes for the greater economic and geopolitical good, B) Support rebel democratic groups and risk economic repercussions or destabilization of the government, or C) Invade and administer, which I'm guessing you wouldn't support. If you have a better idea that doesn't call for an immediate ditching of oil as the main economic currency of the world, I'm all ears.

My bad about the state of the union speech I linked to by the way, I linked to the 2004 one, not the 2003 one that I meant to that had the whole bit about Iraq.


fff: Seriously? What do you think 10,000 armed civilians could have done against Hussein's army? Not to mention the fact they did half heartedly try and were massacred by the thousands in 1991 after the Iraqi army was pulverized by the coalition. Also not to mention that the secret police, like any Eastern European or Soviet ex-pat can tell you, was everywhere. There was no chance of any organization whatsoever taking place with Mr. Hussein knowing about it and slaughter the entire village or city it took place in. This is the guy who had no problem gassing to death hundreds of thousands of his own people. Please, please, don't underestimate the utter lack of power or control over their own lives that Iraqis had. All you have to do is read the Iraqi blogs to get a sense of how overwhelmed by basic freedoms they are. Disagree with the war, fine, but there was no chance that Hussein was going to be ousted by anything other than death had the US not intervened. For crying out loud, he destroyed Islam in Iraq and noone complained, he subjugated the majority Shias and managed to survive, he made them fight the most pointless wars of all time against Iran (1,000,000 dead Iraqis) and then the entire world in 1991 and still nothing. These people were not happy enough with the state of affairs, they just had absolutely no say in the matter.
posted by loquax at 11:29 PM on June 18, 2004


The US doesn't have carte blanche to go into every country worldwide to "snuff out" Al-Qaeda. What a fantastic world this would require! It's hilarious how simple you all seem to think it is. "Elect me President, hell I could figure this out, easy. Just capture all of Al-Qaeda, hardy har har! Duh!"

During the Afghan campaign, members of Al-Qaeda simply fled across the porous border to Pakistan. And we don't have the authority to follow them. Musharraf insists that they are doing their part on their side of the mountains, and whether you believe them or not is up to you. But the question is. . . what should we do? Send our entire forces to form a line across the mountain range and link arms? "Red rover, red rover, send Osama right over?"

There have been at least 10000 civilian deaths during this stupid war. You can't seriously suggest that if 10000 civilians had picked up a gun and held a revolution, the Hussein government would have withstood the onslaught.

Sweet Christ, the naivete.
posted by David Dark at 1:22 AM on June 19, 2004


America's failure to assert its will by force is there for all the world to see.

The war in Iraq is proving to be a colossal blunder. Al-Qaida had no meaningful connection to Iraq before the war, but Washington has played right into Osama bin Laden's hands by blindly sending troops into the seething desert nation.

Bin Laden's bidding (Baltimore Sun)
posted by amberglow at 9:04 AM on June 19, 2004


"The governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia helped set the stage for the Sept. 11 attacks by cutting deals with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden that allowed his al-Qaida terror network to flourish, according to several senior members of the Sept. 11 commission and U.S. counter-terrorism officials."
posted by homunculus at 10:42 AM on June 20, 2004


Psychology helps explain how Bush and Cheney can see a link that the Sept. 11 commission can’t find
posted by homunculus at 12:43 PM on June 20, 2004


Iraq under Saddam Hussein represented a triple threat: First, Saddam Hussein supported Terrorism. He paid money to terrorist organizations and to the families of suicide bombers who killed Israelis. He stockpiled thousands of explosive vests in military warehouses, where US forces discovered them. He established and supplied terrorist training camps in Iraq, such as Salman Pak. He hosted and sheltered terrorist leaders such as Abu Abbas , Abu Nidal , and Carlos “The Jackal”. Saddam’s Baath Party officials had direct meetings with leaders from Al-Fatah, Islamic Jihad, and other international terrorist groups. Second, Iraq tried to invade Iran, and followed up with an invasion of Kuwait. He mobilized his army twice during Clinton’s terms as US President, forcing Clinton to deploy troops each time. Third, He used WMD against Iran , and against the Kurds , as well as using prisoners to develop bioweapons , including two previously unknown weaponized strains (Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF)) discovered by David Kay’s inspectors. Saddam broke the terms of his cease-fire by hiding his WMD from inspectors for 12 years, committed an act of war by attempting to kill former President George HW Bush , and used the UN’s own Oil-for-Food program to buy prohibited weapons . Saddam Hussein represented a grave threat to the region, a man with a track record of aggressive violence, a pathological hatred of many enemies, and an utter ruthlessness to use any means at hand to advance his aim.
via the fourth rail
posted by David Dark at 12:51 PM on June 20, 2004


9/11 commissioner claims Iraqi officer, Al Qaeda link
posted by David Dark at 7:27 PM on June 21, 2004


God, I hope that your link proves to be true, David, because lord knows it's absolutely impossible to prove a negative. Until a link is found, we'll always have fruitbars arguing "oh, there was a link, we just haven't found it yet!"

And end to these tireless accusations on both sides would be a welcome relief.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:31 PM on June 21, 2004


coming up next, every single partisan Republican on the 9/11 Commission says something helpful for Bush, without providing any evidence (it's kinda Putinesque, really). Especially attack dogs like Lehman, who have already shown their stripes.

and what do you know, John Lehman is immortalized with this little gem: Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat. (cute, no?)
posted by amberglow at 7:51 PM on June 21, 2004


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