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June 18, 2004 7:20 AM   Subscribe

Putin says Iraq planned US attack
posted by terrymiles (64 comments total)

 
Pick a scenario, any scenario: Rhode Island is planning to secede from New England, Simon Cowell is a space alien, Soylent Green is made of people. At one time or another, someone somewhere has sworn to an intelligence gatherer that it's true.

That doesn't mean the Iraq didn't consider attacking the US. But if every piece of dubious intelligence were taken seriously...well, look how we got into Iraq!
posted by jpoulos at 7:29 AM on June 18, 2004


TodaysPapers.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:31 AM on June 18, 2004


Ok, the English major in me has to come out for a second. This headline should read "Putin says Iraq was planning US attack." The headline as is gives the idea that Iraq was responsible for an attack. But as Putin is quoted near the end of the article: "It is one thing to have information that Hussein's regime was preparing acts of terrorism [...] but we did not have information that they were involved in any terrorist acts whatsoever."
posted by daHIFI at 7:34 AM on June 18, 2004


But wait.

Hasn't it already been established that Iraq time and again puffed out its chest to give people the impression of power, when in fact they were a paper tiger? That Saddam would say and do one thing, yet his orders were ignored but he was told everything was going to plan?
I also seem to remember other gems of intelligence which have yet to be proven to be true either.
posted by tittergrrl at 7:39 AM on June 18, 2004


Mr. Hussein's government had, with reason, been called "a criminal one," Mr. Putin said, but he disputed one of the core reasons given by President Bush for attacking Iraq in March: the assertion that it had ties to international Islamic militancy and terrorism. Rather, he suggested that the invasion of Iraq had created a terrorist haven where one did not previously exist.
Vladimir Putin interview originally from The New York Times, October 6, 2003
Putin described the United States as a partner but also stressed firmly that the Iraqi campaign should not be lumped in with the broader international war on terrorism — as Washington is doing.

"We do not want the United States to lose their war on terrorism. We are US partners in the fight against terrorism," Putin said.

"But as for Iraq, this is a separate matter. There were no international terrorists under Hussein. This is a separate problem," said Putin.
Agence France Press, December 19, 2003
posted by kirkaracha at 7:57 AM on June 18, 2004


Putin, the most cynical of all politicians.

I wonder if this was a straight cash payment or if the bill will be settled in kind....
posted by sic at 8:02 AM on June 18, 2004


what sic said--this is such a crock of shit...how come we never heard anything about Russia giving us info before? You'd think that would have helped Colin Powell at the UN.
posted by amberglow at 8:10 AM on June 18, 2004


This headline should read "Putin says Iraq was planning US attack." The headline as is gives the idea that Iraq was responsible for an attack.

This is something that's been bugging me in the last few days. When the local tv station reported on the Iraq-AlQ nonconnection, they teased the story with "shocking news about the connection between Iraq and Alqaeda" which would make most people think they had found some sort of link.
posted by drezdn at 8:23 AM on June 18, 2004


This post is worthless.
posted by xmutex at 8:24 AM on June 18, 2004


You've been street team'd!
posted by loquax at 8:26 AM on June 18, 2004


Is anyone sick of pirate-jokes and pirate-themed..things? It was funny for two minutes two years ago, but boy is it beat. I say that because my friend is throwing yet another pirate-themed party this weekend and so I'm thinking about defriending him. On principle, you know.
posted by dhoyt at 8:37 AM on June 18, 2004


Get ready for something to happen in Chechnya very soon.
posted by destro at 8:47 AM on June 18, 2004


This is being cited by my pro-war friends (hey, I have a few...) as the ultimate trump card, as a checkmate in the political chess game over the war.

And if what Putin says is accurate, it might indeed cause those who opposed the war as a diversion from the war on terror, as I did, to see things in a bit of a new light.

But the question is, why now. If Putin is telling the truth, why would the Bush administration not cite this? Even if they were unable to name Russia by name, how is it that "our allies have warned us of Iraqi plans to use terror against the United States" was not an integral part of the run-up to war?

And if in fact Putin had this information, yet continued to oppose the United States' case for war in Iraq, does it mean that Putin did not place much weight on this supposed intelligence?

The other question is, what does Putin have to gain from this? A free hand to deal with the Chechen rebles, of course. But it's been suggested elsewhere that it's in Russia's interest to have the United States bogged down indefinitely in Iraq. Putin, obviously, is nothing if not shrewd. He's not coming to Bush's defense - for that's what this is - without a reason. Call me cynical, but I tend not to think that this reason is because he merely wants to set the record straight.
posted by kgasmart at 8:52 AM on June 18, 2004


Insomnia_lj says Putin "full of it", wonders why Putin opposed war against Iraq if intel credible, speculates that Chalabi supplied bad intel to the U.S. *AND* the Russians, saving the good stuff for the Iranians.

News at 11.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:59 AM on June 18, 2004


i don't believe anything that george dubyuh says. i sure as hell don't believe anything someone known to george dubyuh personally as 'pooty-toot' says.
posted by quonsar at 9:14 AM on June 18, 2004


This is being cited by my pro-war friends (hey, I have a few...) as the ultimate trump card, as a checkmate in the political chess game over the war.

Ask them this: If, before the war, Putin had come out and said "Our intelligence agency believes Iraq has no WMD and poses no threat to the US," would they have believed him?
posted by jpoulos at 10:12 AM on June 18, 2004


Insomnia_lj says Putin "full of it", wonders why Putin opposed war against Iraq if intel credible

$$$$
posted by David Dark at 10:51 AM on June 18, 2004


Putin says Iraq planned US attack

Putin says matteo planned sweaty, champagne-fueled wild threesome with Gisele Bundchen and Tyra Banks in a Beverly Hills mansion, reports all efforts apparently failed
posted by matteo at 11:36 AM on June 18, 2004


This must be a lie. Because otherwise... Bush and Cheney might be telling the truth about terrorists in Iraq. Head hurts just thinking about it.

David Dark, don't you dare go asserting that the Noble United Nations, the world's greatest organization, would sully its hands with bribes, or that Vladamir Putin would. He's so obviously a liar, I mean, just look at him. Bush likes him, he must be evil.

I mean, disregarding Abu Nidal and disregarding the 1998 Justice Department indictment of Hussein, there can't be a link. Bush is evil and not to be trusted, remember that. There were no terrorists in Iraq.
posted by swerdloff at 11:40 AM on June 18, 2004


Pootie Poots not smooching a little ass or anything is he? Nah...that wouldn't happen. Right? Hello? Right?
posted by damnitkage at 11:47 AM on June 18, 2004


There were no terrorists in Iraq.

There were only terrorists in the Kurdish-controlled territories, not under Saddam's control. That's it. Remember the Kurds? our buddies? That's old news, and not enough reason to invade Iraq, overthrow Saddam, and occupy the country.
posted by amberglow at 12:07 PM on June 18, 2004


Bush and Cheney might be telling the truth about terrorists in Iraq.

It could be the truth and Bush and Cheney still might be lying. The connection between al Qaeda and Iraq, at least, is still pretty dubious. If they know it's there, why can't they throw down the evidence? Sensitive intel doesn't seem like a credible excuse, especially now that the government in question is toppled.

I wouldn't be at all suprised to learn that (1) the Russians had better connections in Iraq and (2) knew from those connections that Iraq was exploring the possiblity of a terrorist attack against the US. That's what Putin seems to be saying: "well, they thought about it."

What he does not seem to be saying is that there was any link between Iraq and an organization that in fact effected an attack. We don't even know from Putin's comments if they got as far in the planning stage as, say, the U.S. did a few decades ago when they planned to occupy the Saudi Oil fields.
posted by namespan at 12:11 PM on June 18, 2004


There were no terrorists in Iraq

well, nevermind, there's a whole lot of them now. and recruitment is apparently going very well for Al Qaeda
posted by matteo at 12:25 PM on June 18, 2004


This is getting Headline treatment on NPR...
[*resists urge to bust out tinfoil]
....the day after the big news(?) that there was no found evidence of the connection between Iraq and Al Quaeda.
posted by jaronson at 1:35 PM on June 18, 2004


Seen on the web:
The Left: The war on Iraq is a disaster! The world hates us! You did it unilaterally! You should have gotten Russia on board. You should have gotten Putin to support a U.N. resolution. The support of Russia would show this isn't just America being imperialist, but the whole unified world coming together to face Saddam.

The Right: Well, Putin says Saddam was going to attack us with terrorists.

The Left: Well, who the hell trusts Putin and the Russians?
As someone else once said: heh.

(C.F. the above "Russians are stinky liars, pooty-toot especially" stuff...)
posted by swerdloff at 1:54 PM on June 18, 2004


well, nevermind, there's a whole lot of them now. and recruitment is apparently going very well for Al Qaeda

yes, yes, so we've heard. How is your training coming, and when can we expect your last hurrah?
posted by David Dark at 2:19 PM on June 18, 2004


David Dark, that was totally uncalled for. Calling people names is never going to win you any arguments around here.
posted by zpousman at 3:02 PM on June 18, 2004


swerdloff, Putin's not exactly Mr. Credibility. This is the guy, after all, who "arrested" his main political opponent and effectively forced him out of business because he could. Sorry, I need much more detail on this before I'd believe it.

Why now? And most importantly, is this any more than Saddam talking smack? He's an egomaniacal psychopath who projects a very inflated image of his real capabilities (too hear him say it, his army could take over the world). I think Saddam talked a lot of shit about stuff he could never deliver on.
posted by mkultra at 3:12 PM on June 18, 2004


zpousman, I didn't call anyone names.

I've been called the devil, a fascist, a neocon, etc., among other less flattering names (and interestingly enough, no one ever echoes your sentiments in those cases), but I didn't call anyone a name in this thread. And, just so you know, if I do resort to namecalling, it's not in the interest of winning any arguments. That can be accomplished with or without name calling; the two are completely unrelated.
posted by David Dark at 3:28 PM on June 18, 2004


The Left: The war on Iraq is a disaster! The world hates us! You did it unilaterally! You should have gotten Russia on board. You should have gotten Putin to support a U.N. resolution. The support of Russia would show this isn't just America being imperialist, but the whole unified world coming together to face Saddam.

Bullshit--all of a sudden we hear the Russians fed* us the info on Saddam, yet they still didn't support this sorry excuse for a war. I don't remember anyone speaking of them except as part of an true international coalition, which we never got. Citation please.

*take "fed" with a dacha full of salt.
posted by amberglow at 3:31 PM on June 18, 2004


I didn't call anyone names

nah, you just called me a terrorist.

(btw I find interesting your own "devil/fascist/neocon" Freudian slip. I don't know about the first, but the "fascist" and "neocon" labels are self-evident, for you -- we just need to consider your past comments here)

but don't worry, I dont' mind your insults -- at this point I happen to like the squealing.

bah. anyway, speaking of neocons:

let's hear what those patriotic neocons at the New Republic have to say about the latest development:

(...)Saddam's hunger to acquire one seemed self-evident.
Today, it no longer seems so self-evident. More than a year after the fall of Baghdad, the United States has found no evidence of an active Iraqi nuclear program. Iraq's nuclear scientists say there was none. The central assumption underlying this magazine's strategic rationale for war now appears to have been wrong.


wrong, wrong, wrong.

how does it feel, DD, all that blood on your hands (I understand the Iraqi blood doesn't bother you much, but what about all those dead Americans? are you willing to leave for Iraq anytime soon, put your patriotic ass where your mouth is?)
but I guess calling other people terrorist is the only thing left now for you, among the ruins
posted by matteo at 4:30 PM on June 18, 2004


matteo, I can only hope that you someday are forced to live under a fascist regime so that you quit throwing that word around with such idiotic carelessness.

Fascist==terrorist, dish it, take it.
posted by David Dark at 4:52 PM on June 18, 2004


I would be interested to learn whether there's a correalation between support for the Iraq war and childhood history of bullying.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:02 PM on June 18, 2004


Amberglow - when you ask for a citation, I refer you to everyone that said "the international community must be on board, we must have a coalition" So - the Russians are good enough to be against us but not with us? They're not part of the "International Community?" If so - they're good enough to be with us if they were, but their word is no good?

I'm not sure I'd want someone like the Putin you describe to have my back in a war, personally.
posted by swerdloff at 6:15 PM on June 18, 2004


I would be interested to learn whether there's a correalation between support for the Iraq war and childhood history of bullying.

Or a childhood history of standing up to bullies.
posted by David Dark at 7:48 PM on June 18, 2004


This thread is certainly growing chest hair.
posted by y2karl at 10:26 PM on June 18, 2004


That post was an experiment, DD. Thank you for making it a success.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:39 PM on June 18, 2004


Kim Murphy, the LA Times Moscow reporter wrote:

The Russian president's confirmation comes a day after an unnamed Russian intelligence officer made a similar revelation to the Interfax news agency...

The Russian intelligence source said of the commission's report: "Separated from other elements of the Iraqi problem, the conclusions and generalizations that have been made cannot be recognized as objective."

He said Russian intelligence received a report early in 2002 that Iraqi secret services were organizing terrorist attacks on U.S. territory and against U.S. diplomatic and military facilities outside the United States.

"This information was more than once passed on to our American partners in oral and written form in the fall of 2002," said the source, about whose identity Interfax gave no details. He said there existed a "direct threat to the U.S. from the Saddam Hussein regime."

The Russian statements are unusual, coming from a country that strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq. The Russian military had a long history of cooperation with the Iraqi regime, and senior retired military officers in interviews with The Times said they were in Baghdad on the eve of the war, attempting to provide advice and guidance to the former Iraqi leader.

This put Russia in a unique position to gain intelligence on Saddam's plans, but raises questions about why Moscow would have been sharing the information with Washington


Wasn't the administration already in invasion mode by 2002 ? It's not quite the same as being in cahoots with Al Qaeda nor is it logical. Al Qaeda is not a nation state, which is why it's proven so difficult to eradicate. Iraq is a nation state and for a nation state to conduct a terrorist attack against the hyperpower seems crazy. It seems too risky, of no military value--it's not like Iraq could prevail against us on any level. He got smacked down for attempting to assassinate 41. How could Saddam cover his tracks ? It doesn't make sense.

Saddam was trying to survive--a terrorist attack would be anti-survival. There is no way he could do any real military or political damage and the cost to him should he be found out was far too high.

And then there is this whole part about the Russian military being advisors during the invasion.

Murphy also wrote the following in that article:

In a move whose timing is widely seen in Russian political circles as an attempt to support Bush's reelection, Putin said Russian agents received information after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that Iraqi agents were plotting strikes against other U.S. targets, both at home and abroad.

Why does Putin want to support Bush now ? And how long after Sept. 11 was this information received ? After sabers were being rattled ? That's not the same as being in on the ground floor with Osama Bin Laden and crew.

Russia 'Warning' on Saddam Puzzles U.S.

Putin's remarks looked certain to help President Bush, but officials at the State Department expressed bafflement, saying they knew of no such information from Russia.

So far, no one in the administration has jumped on this story. This is rather odd.
posted by y2karl at 10:58 PM on June 18, 2004


Right, fish. You obviously were a straight A student in science class. Good experiment. Here's an experiment for you:

I would be interested to learn whether there's a correllation between protesting the Iraq war and a childhood history of being bullied.

Respond or don't? Hint: either way you lose.
posted by David Dark at 1:07 AM on June 19, 2004


Al-Qaida may 'reward' American president with strike aimed at keeping him in office, senior intelligence man says

A senior US intelligence official is about to publish a bitter condemnation of America's counter-terrorism policy, arguing that the west is losing the war against al-Qaida and that an "avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked" war in Iraq has played into Osama bin Laden's hands.

Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, due out next month, dismisses two of the most frequent boasts of the Bush administration: that Bin Laden and al-Qaida are "on the run" and that the Iraq invasion has made America safer.

In an interview with the Guardian the official, who writes as "Anonymous", described al-Qaida as a much more proficient and focused organisation than it was in 2001, and predicted that it would "inevitably" acquire weapons of mass destruction and try to use them.


While the Russians feel the sweet schadenfreude of payback for all the US did to thwart the Soviet attempt to install a friendly government in Afghanistan and with Al Qaeda's cadres deeply grateful for how both interventions have helped to create and then sustain their organization and its goals, one can appreciate where it is in the long term strategic interests of both to see the current adminstration remain in office to continue the folly.
posted by y2karl at 6:16 AM on June 19, 2004


Mr Dark. I am assuming here, but I am quite sure matteos family has lived under a fascist regime and knows the consequences. Perhaps part of his family were partisans or communists in hiding, but i think he knows. But still, all that Blood....it would be on my hands also, but the blood is on all our hands. The decision to invade iraq, using WMD as a provable motive or part of the reason was wrong IMO. I would have gone in on violations alone. I may have put on a huge scare show and threaten the shit outta saddam and bombed the crap outta military sites if he so much as twitched but i feel he would have clung to power. Remember when all those Iraqi diplomats, before we invaded, were out with there video cameras overtly trying to look all serious and tricky. This warning was nothing new.
Remember, Richard Clarke called WTC I an Iraqi operation in part. Also, Clarke asserts that the attempted assassination of President Bush in Kuwait was a terrorist action planned by Saddam and Co.

He got smacked down for attempting to assassinate 41


with... more sanctions, massive B-52 strikes that decimated in infra, ramped up plots to oust him, what was it, some cruise missiles at Intel HQ at 2:00 a.m.?

There is no way he could do any real military or political damage and the cost to him should he be found out was far too high.

never say never in the politico-spook world. Who knows what Saddam may have done. But I woulda stuck to what he has done.

Mr. Dark, don't mind FFF and his simpleminded tricks but i see you picked up on his little coin behind the ear trick and served it right back at him.

Karl, The former soviet union and the islamic fundamentalists had a good little secret deal going: Basically do what you want but keep it out of the U.S.S.R. That deal fell apart when Iran started sending covert aid and arms to muslim dominated states in the USSR and when Pakistan started getting real interested in Afghanistan.
posted by clavdivs at 10:50 AM on June 19, 2004


This thread is certainly growing chest hair.

...and a bumfluff moustache.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:47 PM on June 19, 2004


with... more sanctions, massive B-52 strikes that decimated in infra, ramped up plots to oust him, what was it, some cruise missiles at Intel HQ at 2:00 a.m.?

"In 1998 we bombed Iraq. [Saddam Hussein] threw out the inspectors and we conducted an operation called Desert Fox, and we bombed facilities that could be used to develop weapons systems for WMD, because we didn't know if he had them or didn't have them, but we could hit missile production facilities, the intelligence headquarters, etc. And when I traveled around the region and spoke to Kuwaitis, Jordanians, and others, they said, 'You know, you are bombing them all the time, you are hitting them, and you are shaking them, what if he were to collapse? What if you got Saddam in a palace or somewhere, or the people rose up and its chaos? What are you going to do about it?'

General Anthony Zinni

I suppose one could abuse Clinton as a military leader until the cows come home--as opposed to, say, the brilliant air campaign of the recent Iraq war.

Errors Are Seen in Early Attacks on Iraqi Leaders


The United States launched many more failed airstrikes on a far broader array of senior Iraqi leaders during the early days of the war last year than has previously been acknowledged, and some caused significant civilian casualties, according to senior military and intelligence officials.

Only a few of the 50 airstrikes have been described in public. All were unsuccessful, and many, including the two well-known raids on Saddam Hussein and his sons, appear to have been undercut by poor intelligence, current and former government officials said...

An explicit account of the zero for 50 record in strikes on high-value targets was provided by Marc Garlasco, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official who headed the joint staff's high-value targeting cell during the war. Mr. Garlasco is now a senior military analyst for Human Rights Watch, and he was a primary author of the December report, "Off Target: The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq."


Human Rights Watch Report: Off Target: The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq

Far more is involved, however, than the US military not taking sufficient precautions. The “high-value” leadership strikes cannot be justified on the grounds of military necessity. The death of Hussein or a dozen other Iraqi political leaders would not have altered the outcome of the war. Iraq was virtually defenseless in the face of the overwhelming technical and military superiority of the US. It had virtually no air force and its limited air defenses and communications were bound to be destroyed in the first days of the conflict. Iraqi soldiers were massacred in their thousands by American jet fighters, A-10 gun-ships, ground artillery and tanks...

The attitude of the Bush administration toward the Iraqi people is expressed in the fact that at no point during or since the invasion has it attempted to estimate, let alone justify, the number of Iraqi military and civilian casualties caused by US actions. Estimates of Iraqi military deaths range from 10,000 to 45,000. The consensus among non-government observers, who attempted to compile figures from incomplete hospital records, is that between 5,000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians were killed from March 19 to May 1, 2003. The number of wounded is estimated at more than 8,000 in Baghdad alone.


0 for 50. Surgical strikes in the sense of surgery as conducted by Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber. The legal implications of conducting a campaign of assassination of another country's leadership aside, there are also practical ones. Remember the pragmatic argument against the US torturing prisoners was Would you want an enemy torturing Amercian soldiers they captured? Do we really want to go down the road of assasinations again?

Our decapitation strategy managed to kill no, zero, zip, nada Iraqi leaders. But we did gets heaps of civilians. We blowed them up real good. Real great public relations campaign there ...for Al Qaeda, at least.

Under Clinton in '98 Saddam got a bit more than a cruise missile or two. Cheap shots at Clinton as a military leader from the safety of a sofa by an amateur armchair air war strategist is one thing but from Zinni's testimony--and he isn't just a crank on a barcalounger--that the '98 air campaign was devastating enough to scare the governments of Iraq's neighbors into thinking he might topple and chaos ensue.
posted by y2karl at 3:10 PM on June 19, 2004


Mr. Dark, don't mind FFF and his simpleminded tricks but i see you picked up on his little coin behind the ear trick and served it right back at him.

Don't feed the trolls, clavdivs.

It isn't necessary to respond to every little quip, irrelevent aside, and snark. Note that all but two people, yourself included, managed to completely ignore my rhetorical musing, as rightly they should.

"Simpleminded trick" indeed. Blatant trolling, more like. Sheesh.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:44 PM on June 19, 2004


Metafilter: surgery as conducted by Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber
posted by amberglow at 4:52 PM on June 19, 2004


russia - best source of accurate information ever. The new york times should look to pravda and benefit from their wisdom.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 6:41 PM on June 19, 2004


Well, from the LA Times--Iraq Planned Attacks Against U.S., Putin Says

A couple of interesting things:

Retired air force Gen. Igor Maltsev, former deputy commander of Soviet air defense, said in an interview that he had visited Baghdad a week before the war and met with "the highest military leadership" to offer support in preparation for a conventional war. He said he was told that Hussein's military was already preparing for underground warfare.

"They received us and they thanked us, but you could tell they were already … fighting this guerrilla war we see now," he said. "Saddam had dozens of thousands of elite forces … and sky-high piles of weapons and military hardware. They all hid themselves, melted with the crowd and hid their weapons, and now they are using them to kill Americans every day," he said.

Maltsev said he had seen no evidence that Hussein was plotting attacks outside Iraq; instead, the Iraqi leader appeared focused on insurgent-style strikes against Americans there. "Does blowing up a train loaded partly with innocent people and partly with military hardware constitute an act of terrorism, or should it be defined as guerrilla warfare? There are no clear-cut answers here, for the line between terrorism and resistance to invasion is very, very thin. It is almost nonexistent," Maltsev said.

He said there were "never any direct or indirect indications" of links between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi regime. "There were experts in that field among Russian delegations, but we never heard them talking about such ties."


and then,

"It's apparent that Russians and President Putin are interested in a second term for Bush," said Liliya Shevtsova of the Carnegie Moscow Center. "We've always had good relations with Republicans. We dislike Democrats, because Democrats always care about democracy in Russia."

Some analysts say the controversy over Bush's policies in the Middle East is distracting Europe from Putin's increasing authoritarianism and human rights abuses in Chechnya.

"Once [presumed Democratic presidential nominee John] Kerry comes to power, the U.S. and Europe will most likely engage in a new honeymoon … and it means they may jointly turn their attention back to Russia," Belkovsky said. "Thus the Kremlin is interested in seeing the Republicans cling to power, despite all the differences on many issues between Putin and Bush."


So, the attacks planned were attacks within the borders of Iraq, but whether terrorist or guerilla depends on what your definition of 'is' is and there were no indications of direct or indirect links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. And Putin wants the Republicans to win because Democrats are seen as more of a threat to his authoritarian crackdown than the Republicans.

If Elvis was dead, he'd be spinning in his grave.
posted by y2karl at 10:10 PM on June 19, 2004


Couple that with this article, in which an anon intelligence source claims Bush is playing right into bin Laden's hands and
As for weapons of mass destruction, he thinks that if al-Qaida does not have them already, it will inevitably acquire them.

The most likely source of a nuclear device would be the former Soviet Union, he believes. Dirty bombs, chemical and biological weapons, could be home-made by al-Qaida's own experts, many of them trained in the US and Britain.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:29 AM on June 20, 2004


It isn't necessary to respond to every little quip, irrelevent aside, and snark.

fish, I just honestly thought the correllation was more apt if you flip it. Do you mind if other people comment, or is this the fish and karl show?

matteo, did you really read that article? I realize, the language problems you have and all, but you should never skip the conclusion, it's often the most important part:
With all these tragedies, how can there still be a moral case for the war in Iraq? Because Iraqis today--no matter how scared and how bitter--are, in some meaningful sense, free. From the hundreds of Iraqi newspapers to the roughly 40 new Iraqi political parties to the local councils being elected across the country, Iraqis are developing the independent civil society and open politics that the Middle East desperately needs. Could this embryonic freedom be extinguished? Of course. Given the militias roaming the country, Iraq's political future could well be decided by guns rather than ballots. If another dictator murders his way to power, or the country dissolves into violent fiefdoms, the war will have proved not just a strategic failure, but a moral one as well.

But that is clearly not what Iraqis want. Polls show that most Iraqis desire a democracy with Islamic characteristics and think they will achieve one. Prominent Iraqis like Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani don't denounce the United States for bringing too much democracy, but for not bringing it quickly enough.

And, throughout the Arab and Muslim world, people are watching. They may not hate America any less than they did before the war--for the time being, they may even hate it more. But, with the fall of Iraq's dictator, they can finally envision the fall of their own. And the new discourse emerging in Iraq is reverberating across its borders, changing what is conceivable. In March, demonstrators gathered outside the parliament building in Damascus, demanding an end to the country's longstanding state of emergency. A few days later, Kurds rioted in the country's northeast, prompting eleven Syrian human rights groups to blame the unrest on "the absence of democratic life and public freedoms." That same month, a group of prominent Arab intellectuals and activists met in Alexandria, Egypt, where they issued what famed Egyptian dissident Saad Eddin Ibrahim called "a sort of Arab Magna Carta" demanding reform. "In the Middle East today, you talk about food, you talk about football--and you talk about democracy," a young Egyptian political scientist named Mohammed Kamal recently told Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl. "There is a serious debate going on in the Arab world about their own societies. The United States has triggered this debate."
A few quick lessons. Appearances can be deceiving. The answer to the headline's question is No, we were not wrong to support the war. What the United States has done is revolutionary and is changing the way the Middle East looks at itself. A noble cause, indeed.
The outcome of that debate is in Arab hands, not American ones. Even in Iraq, although we must still assist as best we can, our control is slipping away. Ultimately, it is this new, bewildering, liberating debate, rather than U.S. force of arms, upon which our hopes for Iraq, and the whole Arab world, now rest. Americans no longer have the power to redeem this war. But Iraqis still can.
This is the way it was always going to be. We can only take the Iraqis so far, and then they must take themselves the rest of the way. This is not shocking, nor is it unexpected. But you and others hope for democracy's failure. Based on your comments here, it's evident that everytime a car goes boom in Baghdad, you smile, and for that you are no better than a mask-wearing jihadist.

I'd like to give you a little taste of what you wished, and wish to this day, that Iraq was still like. What you wish Iraq would have remained for generations, beyond Saddam and into the reign of one of his now dead, formerly insane, sons. The latest video from Abu Ghraib. That's blood on your hands. Enjoy. Seriously, NSFW or the squeamish.
posted by David Dark at 2:48 AM on June 20, 2004


Cheap shots at Clinton as a military leader from the safety of a sofa by an amateur armchair air war strategist is one thing but from Zinni's testimony--and he isn't just a crank on a barcalounger

I post whist sitting on a tree stump karl, I'm hurt. Hey, I'm giving Clinton more credit after reading Clarkes book. I was addressing the assassination attempt on the President only, which he says was an Iraqi operation. To me, that is an act of war, but maybe not to an acting president as President Bush was a private citizen at the time.

The outcome of that debate is in Arab hands, not American ones. Even in Iraq, although we must still assist as best we can, our control is slipping away. Ultimately, it is this new, bewildering, liberating debate, rather than U.S. force of arms, upon which our hopes for Iraq, and the whole Arab world, now rest. Americans no longer have the power to redeem this war. But Iraqis still can.

BINGO. This is key. The people will have to pick up the "pieces". This is central in any situation like this.
The economic time clock is clicking the the mid-east.
posted by clavdivs at 10:05 AM on June 20, 2004


The latest video from Abu Ghraib. That's blood on your hands.

My hands? if you're going to fling shit about that, I guess you'd better lay the blame squarely at the feet of George Bush Sr, who fucked-over the Iraqis during the first war by not following up on his promise of support for the overthrow of their government.

Also, it's not the "latest video": it's an old video from Saddam's regime.

If it were the "latest video," it would instead be showing American soldiers raping Iraqi children.

Oh, I know, you find it terribly offensive that anyone would suggest that American soldiers did something wrong over there. You're certain that the torture and abuse was necessary. And, besides, there hasn't been any actual photographic or video evidence that you have seen of soldiers raping children.

Well, hold onto your hat. The Abu Ghraib scandal hasn't even begun to kick into high gear.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:32 AM on June 20, 2004


my, my, fish is in a huff. Does that make your lisp better or worse?

I didn't say your hands I said matteo's hands, but if you're one of those Ted Kennedy echoing, "The Fascist US is worse than Saddam" idiots, too, then okay, sure, your hands. If you've ever said that Iraq was better off under Saddam, or that Saddam shouldn't have been removed, then the blood of Saddam's victims are as much on your hands as the blood of any war casualties are on the hands of those who support the war. Playing by matteo's rules, there's a hell of a lot more blood on his hands than there is on mine, and I'll accept the blood of the war to stop the flow of the rivers of blood that you all were swimming in.

Oh, I know, you find it terribly offensive that anyone would suggest that American soldiers did something wrong over there. You're certain that the torture and abuse was necessary.

Don't put words in my mouth, fish. I've never made those comments nor have I ever implied that I feel that way, and you know it. I've never hinted that American soldiers haven't done wrong. I've never claimed that the abuse was necessary. I condemn it, and always have. Getting all worked up and making baseless and demonstrably false accusations doesn't win you any points. Oh, wait, was this more of your "blatant trolling", a snide quip that shouldn't be responded to? I never can tell once the jackass brigade starts marching which idiotic comments are made in sincerity and which are made in jest. Please clarify.

But the link is to the latest video to be released to the mainstream press out of Abu Ghraib. Do you have a link to a more recent one? I'll hold onto my hat while you link to it.
posted by David Dark at 11:50 AM on June 20, 2004


Look, fish is the pink one!
posted by David Dark at 1:14 PM on June 20, 2004


my, my, fish is in a huff. Does that make your lisp better or worse?

W.T.F.?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:20 PM on June 20, 2004


Iraq Is a Hub for Terrorism, However You Define It

A superpower invaded an impoverished Islamic nation. Guerrillas responded with AK-47's and rocket-propelled grenades. A generation of warriors was born, eager to wage jihad.

That was Afghanistan in the 1980's. It became a breeding ground for terrorists - most infamously Osama bin Laden - who exported their deadly skills throughout the world. In Iraq, some of the same conditions that nurtured terrorism in the mountains of Afghanistan have emerged in the power vacuum created by the American occupation, Iraqis and terrorism experts say.

"Unfortunately Iraq has become a cause célèbre for radical jihadists the way that Afghanistan did a decade and a half ago," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism analyst at the RAND Corporation. "You've got a lot of the same conditions that allowed Afghanistan to become a hub for terrorists."

Those include porous borders, swaths of lawless land and regions of the country harboring well-armed groups that are neither part of the government nor under its control, Mr. Hoffman said.

He defined terrorists in terms of tactics - using suicide car bombs rather than conventional weapons, for example. Since the civil war in Lebanon, the line between terrorism and insurgency has blurred, he said, with Iraq being a perfect example.

There has been an average of one car bomb a day this month. More than 100 civilians have been killed.

Assassinations of Iraqi government officials and sabotage of crucial sites like oil pipelines are on the rise. American and Iraqi forces seem unable to prevent the carnage, fueling hatred of the occupation among the population.


New Abuse Charges

Could the abuse of prisoners in Iraq have gone beyond the beatings and sexual humiliation already alleged? Unreleased, classified parts of the report on prison abuse from Major General Anthony Taguba, which were read to TIME, contain indications of mistreatment of female prisoners. In a Feb. 21 statement to Taguba, Lieut. Colonel Steven L. Jordan, former head of the Abu Ghraib interrogation center, said he had received reports "that there were members of the MI [Military Intelligence] community that had come over and done a late-night interrogation of two female detainees" last October. According to a statement by Jordan's boss, Colonel Thomas Pappas, three interrogators were later cited for violations of military law in their handling of the two females, ages 17 and 18. Senate Armed Services Committee investigators are probing whether the two women were sexually abused. The Pentagon declined to comment.

Mistakes Loom Large as Handover Nears

"We blatantly failed to get it right," said Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution who served as an adviser to the occupation authority. "When you look at the record, it's impossible to escape the conclusion that we squandered an unprecedented opportunity."

Viewed from Baghdad since April 2003, the occupation has evolved from an optimistic partnership between Americans and Iraqis into a relationship riven by frustration and resentment. U.S. reconstruction specialists commonly complain of ungrateful Iraqis. Residents of a tough Baghdad neighborhood who welcomed U.S. forces with cold cans of orange soda last spring now jeer as military vehicles roll past. A few weeks ago, young men from the area danced atop a Humvee disabled by a roadside bomb, eventually torching it.

In many ways, the occupation appears to have transformed the occupier more than the occupied. Iraqis continue to endure blackouts, lengthy gas lines, rampant unemployment and the uncertain political future that began when U.S. tanks rolled into Baghdad. But American officials who once roamed the country to share their sense of mission with Iraqis now face such mortal danger that they are largely confined to compounds surrounded by concrete walls topped with razor wire. Iraqis who come to meet them must show two forms of identification and be searched three times.


The Re-Baathification of Falluja

It was payday for the Falluja Brigade, a dusty, flat, 100-degree day in late May, and hundreds of the brigade's soldiers were gathering at the city's railway station on the north end of town. A month before, during the siege of Falluja by 4,500 United States marines, this same railway station was attacked by American helicopters after insurgents inside the station fired rocket-propelled grenades at Marine snipers nearby. But now things were very different. On May 1, as Falluja and the world braced for an all-out assault by the marines, the siege was suddenly called off. The marines announced they were pulling out and ceding control of the city to a new, all-Iraqi force. The man who engineered the deal was Muhammad Latif, a 66-year-old former Iraqi Army colonel from Baghdad. Latif promised the Americans that he could pacify Falluja with a corps of laid-off soldiers from Saddam Hussein's army. Some would be former members of the Republican Guard, the elite force responsible for the regime's darkest hours, and some would be drawn from the insurgents the Americans had been fighting -- a very different situation indeed.

Now the 2,600 members of the Falluja Brigade were packed into the railway station to collect their monthly salaries. Three Iraqi officers with big, Saddam-style mustaches and constellations of stars on their shoulders sat along one side of a table in a stuffy little office in the back of the station, counting out stacks of cash: $150 for sergeants, $250 for majors, $300 for colonels; all in crisp U.S. bills, all provided by the U.S. government. The line of soldiers waiting for their pay snaked out the door, through the railway station and into the heat. Many were dressed in faded combat fatigues with a jaunty eagle insignia on their shoulders, signifying high rank in Hussein's army; some had red triangles just below their shoulders, the mark of the Republican Guard. In just a few weeks, Falluja had gone from de-Baathification to re-Baathification. The problem, it seemed, had become the solution.

posted by y2karl at 6:39 PM on June 20, 2004


The outcome of that debate is in Arab hands, not American ones. Even in Iraq, although we must still assist as best we can, our control is slipping away. Ultimately, it is this new, bewildering, liberating debate, rather than U.S. force of arms, upon which our hopes for Iraq, and the whole Arab world, now rest. Americans no longer have the power to redeem this war. But Iraqis still can.

No matter how much make up you put on, that's whorish rhetoric. Meaningless.

This is key. The people will have to pick up the "pieces". This is central in any situation like this.

That is hot air. We blew the occupation. Not fucking up is central in any situation like this.
posted by y2karl at 7:00 PM on June 20, 2004


Every time I see "Putin" I hear it in my head as "Poutine."
posted by five fresh fish at 9:19 PM on June 20, 2004


Editorial | Bush and Iraq

A new group of 27 former military leaders and diplomats, including many Republicans appointed or promoted by President Bush's father, issued a blistering critique of the Bush foreign policy last week.

Calling his policies "overbearing," "insensitive" and "disdainful," the group said, as a result: "Our security has been weakened... . Never in the two and a quarter centuries of our history has the United States been so isolated among the nations, so broadly feared and distrusted."

...What matters is that Americans grasp a central point: The multipronged rationale behind this rushed invasion has been revealed as a house of cards.

(Deposing Hussein always was a legitimate strategic goal, given his history as an aggressor and butcher - but not in this reckless way, with these wrongful justifications.)

Consider the house of cards, and two other glaring facts.

First, preparation for the invasion's aftermath was tragically inept. That easily predictable failure has cost many Iraqis, Americans and others their lives.

Second, the prison abuses, which stem from poor planning for occupation and a bid to place U.S. behavior above international law, have lost America the moral high ground it rightfully occupied on Sept. 12, 2001.

Now, ask yourself, along with those 27 American diplomats and warriors: Have the last two years made America more secure, more respected?

The answer is obvious and appalling. The answer is no.

posted by y2karl at 10:58 PM on June 20, 2004


That's whorish rhetoric. Meaningless.

Touchy, touchy. Too much truth in there for the mental house of cards, I suppose. As the Iraq situation improves, so will Bush's poll numbers, karl. You saw this coming all along, of course. After all, the Pottery Barn theory applies both ways. You knew that, right? He owns it.
posted by David Dark at 12:58 AM on June 21, 2004


As the Iraq situation improves, so will Bush's poll numbers, karl.

Close your eyes real tight, Dorothy, click those red shoes and keep whispering I wish I were in Kansas ! I wish I were in Kansas !.
posted by y2karl at 6:32 AM on June 21, 2004


Anonymous, who published an analysis of al-Qaida last year called Through Our Enemies' Eyes, thinks it quite possible that another devastating strike against the US could come during the election campaign, not with the intention of changing the administration, as was the case in the Madrid bombing, but of keeping the same one in place.

"I'm very sure they can't have a better administration for them than the one they have now," he said.

"One way to keep the Republicans in power is to mount an attack that would rally the country around the president."


The attempt to help Bush will most likely come from your ideological soulmates in Al Qaeda, David--that's the concrete step might help fulfill your wishes. Keep praying for more beheadings, David. We'll see what Osama puts under your election tree. You look good in that kaffiyah, David. Wasn't it Aldrich Ames who had a KGB general's uniform his spymasters gave him that he used to wear around the house ? Thanks for sharing your jihadi wishes.
posted by y2karl at 6:53 AM on June 21, 2004


Ha ha. Tantrums are funny. Just don't cry, karl.
posted by David Dark at 9:56 AM on June 21, 2004


"It's apparent that Russians and President Putin are interested in a second term for Bush," said Liliya Shevtsova of the Carnegie Moscow Center. "We've always had good relations with Republicans. We dislike Democrats, because Democrats always care about democracy in Russia."


too funny.
posted by amberglow at 3:54 PM on June 21, 2004


I called it!

What do I win?
posted by destro at 9:52 AM on June 22, 2004


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