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Pakistan for Bush
July 7, 2004 6:13 PM   Subscribe

"It would be best if the arrest or killing of [Osama bin Laden] were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July." During the first three days of the Democratic National Convention, the Bush administration offers The July Surprise.
posted by four panels (108 comments total)

 
"If we don't find these guys by the election, they are going to stick this whole nuclear mess up our asshole."

great scoop for the New Republic. i lost interest in it years ago ...

as the article notes, this guy doesn't think it's gonna happen, and i'd tend to agree, but who knows?

the fact that catching bin Laden will decide the election one way or another is depressing enough to hibernate until Nov. 3.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:49 PM on July 7, 2004


We could not find Eric Rudolph under optimum conditions here in the USA .. Great Smokeys are rough terrain but unlimited high-tech resources and no one shooting back.
posted by stbalbach at 7:01 PM on July 7, 2004


stbalbach: haha, right on. and obl is six feet tall and on dialysis.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:12 PM on July 7, 2004


Place your bets.
posted by homunculus at 7:15 PM on July 7, 2004


Report says U.S. allies aided al-Qaida

Bush names Pakistan 'major ally'

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means, what you think it means."
posted by homunculus at 7:23 PM on July 7, 2004


"Powell pointedly refused to criticize Musharraf for pardoning nuclear physicist A.Q. Khan--who, the previous month, had admitted exporting nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea, and Libya--declaring Khan's transgressions an 'internal' Pakistani issue."
posted by homunculus at 7:30 PM on July 7, 2004


1. Osama Bin Laden is found before the election
2. Bush is re-elected
3. Our freedoms continue to be taken away, and people start noticing.
4. Civil war engulfs U.S., lasting roughly 10 years
5. Instability of the U.S. collapses other countries, and nuclear and other weapons proliferate and cause damage.
posted by banished at 7:56 PM on July 7, 2004


6. profit!!!!1!!1
posted by quonsar at 7:57 PM on July 7, 2004


They'd be better off waiting until nearer the election; capturing Saddam only resulted in a short term boost, after all. Seems kind of phony to me. But famous last words, etc., etc.
posted by carter at 8:01 PM on July 7, 2004


All we - and all American voters - have to remember what Dubya has said in the past:

"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." - George W Bush, 3/13/02

"I am truly not that concerned about him."
- George W Bush, responding to a question about bin Laden's whereabouts (The New American, 4/8/02)

Therefore, with the blessing of the President, whenever the guy is capatured, we can all forget about it and go about our day, without blanket media coverage and endless uninformed debate. I look forward to it.
posted by tapeguy at 8:16 PM on July 7, 2004


capturing Saddam only resulted in a short term boost

But it did keep people distracted.
posted by homunculus at 8:17 PM on July 7, 2004


quonsar: when they come to collect your underpants, my prayers will be with you.
posted by gwint at 8:27 PM on July 7, 2004


sur·prise tr.v. sur·prised, sur·pris·ing, sur·pris·es

To encounter suddenly or unexpectedly; take or catch unawares.

Considering we all expect it, "surprise" isn't the right word, is it?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:28 PM on July 7, 2004


mmmm, civil war. ooh, maybe we can hire/resurrect aaron burr! we have the technology! like, bush could accuse him of sleeping with chelsea clinton, and then he could blow a huge fucking hole in bush's liver! mercy is the mark of a great man.

7. more profit! ("well, I'm alright")
posted by dorian at 8:30 PM on July 7, 2004


First they came for the communists' underpants...
posted by condour75 at 8:37 PM on July 7, 2004


capturing Saddam only resulted in a short term boost

catching OBL is a much bigger deal. Saddam never attacked the United States. we (the U.S.) took over his fucking country and offered a multimillion dollar reward. it was inevitable.

whether or not he had anything to do with the specific planning, OBL is regarded as the (live) person most responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

i don't think they're gonna get him alive, or ever even find his body, but i think that catching OBL would guarantee a victory for GWB.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:39 PM on July 7, 2004


I don't get these theories. It's not like capturing OBL now wouldn't help W. Basically any time between 9/11/01 and 11/2/04 and George wins.
posted by herc at 9:02 PM on July 7, 2004


The next time a bomb goes off after Bin Laden is captured the gig is up and Bush's support will deflate even further when Americans realize it's Not That Simple.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:11 PM on July 7, 2004


Hmm.. civil war. An extremely interesting tangent
posted by firestorm at 9:26 PM on July 7, 2004


Things suck, but the suckage would have to radically increase for people to actually want to fight in the streets about it.
posted by bshort at 9:44 PM on July 7, 2004


Upcoming Civil War? Just ask John Titor. (Previously On Mefi....)
posted by ahughey at 9:51 PM on July 7, 2004


catching OBL is a much bigger deal. Saddam never attacked the United States.

Tell it to the Bush administration and the nearly 50% of American people who believe Saddam was part of the attack on america.
posted by The God Complex at 10:24 PM on July 7, 2004


I'm tired of hearing that 50% (or 70%, or whatever the fuck the number is that "liberals" bat around) of Americans believe that Saddam was part of the attack on America -- no doubt due to incessant brainwashing by talk-radio and Fox News Channel, right? The moonbats just *love* to throw that poll result out, and interpret it to mean that Americans are sheep and stupid and believe anything the Administration says.

I call bullshit. I seriously doubt that most of these people think that Saddam and bin-Laden were huddled in a palace, concocting the attack together. But Americans aren't stupid - they know that evil loves company and "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

I don't have hard evidence that Saddam was directly part of the attack on America -- but I have no doubt that (a) he was aware of it, and (b) he supported it in some way - either financially, morally (through terrorist networks and underground connections), or such.

Did Saddam "cause" 9/11? No. Was he involved at some level? I think it's highly likely - more likely than not. And although Saddam never "directly attacked" the USA, he did directly attack Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, and Kuwait. And the resulting Gulf War (90-91) led to our continued presence in the region in order to enforce UN sanctions on Iraq, which Saddam continuously defied and tried to subvert...whereupon he & military took continued shots at our military - literally - and threatened his citizens, brutalized his detractors, and tried to assassinate President Bush, etc, etc.

In summary: OBL was direct cause of 9/11; Saddam was a player, but to what extent we don't know yet.
posted by davidmsc at 10:51 PM on July 7, 2004


You are an idiot, davidmsc. I'm not going to back that statement up with any links, the same way you can't back up anything you've just said.
posted by interrobang at 11:04 PM on July 7, 2004


davidmsc... Americans aren't dumb huh?

Debunk the following statistic (CNN Link)... Among 18- to 24-year-old Americans given maps, 87% cannot find Iraq... and 11%cannot find the United States.

70 percent cannot find New Jersey for Christ's sake.
I'm in advertising. Americans are sheep, and the current administration takes advantage of it.
posted by banished at 11:06 PM on July 7, 2004


...and they wield fear to do so.
posted by interrobang at 11:10 PM on July 7, 2004


I'll believe that they have him locked up and will lower him in a cage from the Madison Square Garden ceiling just before Bush's big speech on 9/11, until it doesn't happen.
posted by chicobangs at 11:10 PM on July 7, 2004


I'm tired of hearing that 50% (or 70%, or whatever the fuck the number is that "liberals" bat around) of Americans believe that Saddam was part of the attack on America -- no doubt due to incessant brainwashing by talk-radio and Fox News Channel, right? [...] I don't have hard evidence that Saddam was directly part of the attack on America [...] Was he involved at some level? I think it's highly likely - more likely than not.

Riiiiiiiiiight. You've certainly proven to me that those numbers are completely insane. I don't know why anybody would believe that poll. Stupid "liberals".
posted by willnot at 11:14 PM on July 7, 2004


A large amount of Americans are played like sheep.... but not all of us are"sheep", or stupid for that matter. What is a liberal to you anyway Davidmsc? Someone whos ideology is equality for all people, competitive marketplace? European liberals? Classical? Neo? Wheres your angle?
posted by Keyser Soze at 11:15 PM on July 7, 2004


We're so fucked.
posted by interrobang at 11:25 PM on July 7, 2004


Let's not discount the "october surprise" scenario whereby Osama is caught/killed in the weekend prior to the actual election.

This administration has learned much from terrorists in the past year.
posted by clevershark at 11:50 PM on July 7, 2004


If...
Average American = davidmsc = We're so fucked

INDEED!
posted by banished at 11:51 PM on July 7, 2004


But Americans aren't stupid - they know that evil loves company and "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Yep. It definitely worked in Afghanistan during the 1980s, when a certain O. Bin Laden was the enemy of the Soviet occupation.

Do you not appreciate the fact that such facile thinking -- the Austin Powers-like notion that all the 'bad guys' are somehow in league together -- is the mirror-image of the paranoid fantasies that fuel radical militancy? [By the way, the precise nature and origin of the assassination plot against Daddy Bush has never been properly explained.]

Doesn't matter, though, does it? In the past couple of years, the character of Islamic terrorism has changed:

Today, the structure that was built in Afghanistan has been destroyed, and bin Laden and his associates have scattered or been arrested or killed. There is no longer a central hub for Islamic militancy. But the al Qaeda worldview, or "al Qaedaism," is growing stronger every day. This radical internationalist ideology-sustained by anti-Western, anti-Zionist, and anti-Semitic rhetoric-has adherents
among many individuals and groups, few of whom are currently linked in any substantial way to bin Laden or those around him. They merely follow his precepts, models, and methods. They act in the style of al Qaeda, but they are only part of al Qaeda in the very loosest sense. That's why Israeli intelligence services now prefer the term "jihadi international" instead of "al Qaeda."


While it would be nice to drag Osama down Madison Avenue behind a dustcart, the idea that it signals 'Mission Really Accomplished, No Honestly' is demented.
posted by riviera at 12:12 AM on July 8, 2004


70 percent cannot find New Jersey

..and?
posted by stbalbach at 12:12 AM on July 8, 2004


Belgium was involved with the 9/11 attacks. We don't know to what extent -- financial support, moral support, or child supprt. But they were almost certainly aware. And perhaps they did indeed participate in it. Intimately. They hate us for destroying the monopoly of their waffle cartel. It stands to reason that they took part in the Attack on America.
posted by inksyndicate at 12:44 AM on July 8, 2004


Americans are sheep, and the current administration takes advantage of it.

<ultracynic>
And if Republicans do a better job of manipulating the sheep than the Democrats do, they deserve to win. The Kerry campaign and the DNC better start reading their Machiavelli.
</ultracynic>
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:47 AM on July 8, 2004


davidmc, congratulations for demonstrating just what a sheep you are.
posted by salmacis at 1:03 AM on July 8, 2004


davidmc,

You are included in the stat which you so vehemently protest.
posted by wsg at 1:40 AM on July 8, 2004


BaaBaaFilter?
posted by matteo at 2:05 AM on July 8, 2004


I'll settle for voting this November, but I think that if Bush wins, there will a significant backlash from a whole bunch of people who normally wouldn't take involvement in the political process farther than that.

There's likely to be far more grass-roots politics in opposition to Bush's assumed mandate to continue, and even expand, his administration's policies and ideology into areas that many people find out about by passively reading the papers each day. And a formerly quiescent group of self-described 'moderates' that will hear that message of opposition, and get actively involved.

For now, though, it looks as though people are just going to vote and hope for the best.
posted by attackthetaxi at 2:08 AM on July 8, 2004


The moonbats just *love* to throw that poll result out

It seems to me to be a recent development that those who are over-inclined to use the words 'liberal' and 'conservative' to mean (in a relentlessly 'I'm gonna get you at recess' kinda way) 'them' and 'us' are also using the word 'moonbat' to describe 'them'.

Others of a Administration-cheerleader bent have used it here in the last little while, and I'm genuinely curious where they picked it up... it's certainly not a neologism, but I think it's a new use, at least when they use it in conjunction with the negative epithet 'liberal'.

These kinds of questions amuse me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:17 AM on July 8, 2004


gomer.jpg

Suuuprise, suuuprise, suuuprise!
posted by moonbird at 4:33 AM on July 8, 2004


stavros,
moonbat = conspiracy theorist from the moderate right to the left, i.e., someone who disagrees with Rush Limbaugh.

I call bullshit on you davidsmc. By your logic we definitely shoudl have attacked Pakistan many times over before we even thought about Iraq. And then there's Iran and North Korea and the list goes for a long time before we get to Iraq. You are one of the dumbasses the polls mention.

Me, I'm a smartass! :-)
posted by nofundy at 5:00 AM on July 8, 2004


Shorter davidsmc:

Okay, so it looks like the Bush administration is manipulating the capture of dangerous terrorsts for political advantage, at potentially the cost of billions of dollars and hundreds of American lives. I could offer an opinion on that, but instead, this is Chewbacca....
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:26 AM on July 8, 2004


davidmc:
I don't have hard evidence that Saddam was directly part of the attack on America -- but I have no doubt that (a) he was aware of it, and (b) he supported it in some way - either financially, morally (through terrorist networks and underground connections), or such.
You know, if you think about it, even just a little, that's a really bizarre idea, "evidence" or no.

No, really: A person would believe that would have to be either:Think about this for a minute: You're suggesting that the wealthy head of a highly compartmentalized terrorist organization would consult an ideologically opposed head of state for support for an operation that said terrorist leader could basically fund out of pocket change? And where the logistics were basically a matter of good Expedia skills?

Key points here, in case you've lost me: And the fact that anybody at all took this seriously, evidence or no evidence -- and especially people in the so-called "intelligence" community -- is really, really disturbing to me. Yes, sure, you have to check out leads, but: This is a really extraordinary claim, and it's an extraordinary claim because it doesn't make sense, and it never did.

My god, man, think this shit through.
posted by lodurr at 5:39 AM on July 8, 2004


I don't have hard evidence that Saddam was directly part of the attack on America -- but I have no doubt

Dude you've mistakenly posted your CIA application cover letter.
posted by srboisvert at 5:57 AM on July 8, 2004


Personally, I have very little interest in finding New Jersey.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 6:15 AM on July 8, 2004


FWIW, I don't believe we've got OBL. Here's my reasoning.

The way things are going right now, I don't believe that the US could securely hold OBL without having a lot of people involved. Given the emotional investment that Americans have in him, I don't believe that a large number of people could be involved in something like that without starting rumours.

And considering how much the CIA hates the administration right now, you know there'd be rumours.

My impression of the special forces guys has been that they'll pretty much keep their mouths shut, hell or high water, as long as they're still assigned. (After is another matter.) So if you cut the CIA out of the loop -- or kept their involvement to a very small, elite, ultra-loyal group -- there'd be a chance of leak-proof secrecy. But that would require involving a foreign power. And that would increase the probability of a leak, which leads into a vicious circle...

Finally, let's say that Pakistan has OBL. Does anybody here seriously believe they could hold him? That the fundamentalist spies inside of their military wouldn't leak his location or just spirit him out?

I think they're grasping at straws. They may have some surprises planned, but the way they work with intelligence, I don't think they have much chance of success. However, if the history of insurgent warfare has taught us anything, it's that real success and propaganda success are basically unrelated, at least on the short time horizon.
posted by lodurr at 6:23 AM on July 8, 2004


so, let's see if I'm recapping this correctly: davidmsc makes an argument. Maybe he's right, maybe he's wrong (I haven't seen anyone on either side link to a trustworthy source, yet). Nonetheless, several people are apparently qualified to dismiss what he's saying out of hand, and resort to ad hominem attacks: It must be really nice to be omniscient. I know that there couldn't possibly be any truth to what he's saying, since you all have personal knowledge of all clandestine Middle East contacts.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:29 AM on July 8, 2004


I think OBL is dead and buried in some cave in Afghanistan. If he was alive, you're telling me his cronies couldnt've smuggled a single video camera for him to make a video showing him doing the charleston or some other demonstration that he's up and about? So far all they've had is dodgy audio claiming to be OBL and mostly unverified.

If they can smuggle a tape recorder they sure has hell can get a Panasonic DV camcorder to him as well.
posted by PenDevil at 6:33 AM on July 8, 2004


pardonyou?, the 9/11 commission did say that there was no link....
posted by h00dini at 6:37 AM on July 8, 2004


... since you all have personal knowledge of all clandestine Middle East contacts.

You don't have to have smelled camel shit to know it's shit when you see it on the ground in your path.

Similarly, stupid arguments are often recognizable as stupid even when you aren't familiar with all the details. Sometimes, you only need to know a few key details (e.g., that it only took a few hundred thousand dollars to stage 9/11, and that logistics were simple, ergo no need for nation-state assistance).

Sometimes, you don't need to know any details at all, as when the basic logic fails. Or when the counterargument is basically made on faith.
posted by lodurr at 6:39 AM on July 8, 2004


so, let's see if I'm recapping this correctly

You're not. Davidsmc not only provided no evidence whatsoever to establish his accusation that everyone in the thread was wrong except him, he said so himself.

Which kind of pisses on your accusation that "the lefties" need to provide evidence to the contrary. We're "qualified" to dismiss what he says out of hand because he... well... didn't say a damned thing.

But no, I'm sure it's just the lefty cabal shooting down the minds of insight so attuned to political acumen that they have truly gone beyond evidence. While we're talking, how do you get that third nail in? Wouldn't one hand be pinned down by that point?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:43 AM on July 8, 2004


h00dini, Here is what the commission found: "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."

Here is what davidmsc said: "I don't have hard evidence that Saddam was directly part of the attack on America -- but I have no doubt that (a) he was aware of it, and (b) he supported it in some way - either financially, morally (through terrorist networks and underground connections), or such."

Can you explain how those two statements are inconsistent (I'm interpreting davidmsc's "(b)" as "soft" support)? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying davidmsc is right (I'm at least honest enough to say I have no fucking idea either way).
posted by pardonyou? at 6:45 AM on July 8, 2004


Oh, give me a break, XQUZYPHYR. I didn't bring up anything about "lefties" or the "lefty cabal." My point was that he made an argument, and instead of refuting his claims with facts, people felt entitled to call him an "idiot" and a "sheep." Because, like, he's soooo stupid, and everyone else knows the real truth.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:50 AM on July 8, 2004


< davidmsc-esque_weak-ass_conspiracy_theory>
My "Americans Are Sheep" October Surprise:

1. From 2001-2004, Osama Bin Laden promotes & trains his future replacements from within the Al Qaeda organization.
2. Post-9/11/2001, OBL and the other Al Qaeda leadership order only probing attacks against the West's improving alertness & defenses. The secondary (or primary) purpose of these attacks is to reveal the political responses of various leaders and populaces.
3. 3/11/2004, Madrid commuter trains are bombed shortly before Spain's national elections. This, too, was an Al Qaeda test, and the Spanish government passed miserably by quickly asserting that the Basques did it and insuring their loss in the election. Al Qaeda takes note of the rigid response of the American populace: It's the fault of the Spanish people for caving into to terrorism.
4. 10/2004, the American populace having steeled itself against the possibility of being swayed in its vote by its current conception of a terrorist attack, is totally blind to Al Qaeda's next move. Knowing that only a USA that continues to be so completely self-righteous will allow his hopes for global jihad to flourish, Osama prepares to purposely be captured or killed.
5. Late-10/2004, Osama is killed in Afghanistan, instantly becoming a fantastic martyr for Muslims and other groups-in-struggle worldwide. Americans go to the polls, thinking Bush and his Christian-corporatism have indeed saved the country by winning the War on Terror.
6. 12/2004, Al Qaeda, riding the wave of anti-American, anti-Western thought building since the invasion of Iraq, stops pulling its punches; bombs (conventional and otherwise) begin exploding in the U.S. and other developed countries. The American populace sighs in relief, knowing it has re-elected the right leader for taking care of terrorism. Al Qaeda now has more funding and countless more supporters than it did pre-9/11.
7. 1/2005, as jihad goes global, Congress announces that it is reinstating the military draft, effective immediately. The Pentagon prepares a five-year plan for military action to squelch terrorism hot zones throughout the world.
8. Profit.
9. Sometime in the future: "Keep your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape."

< /davidmsc>

Oops, I think I had some evidence there towards the end. My apologies.
posted by bafflegab at 6:53 AM on July 8, 2004


I don't know, saddam did have a nice bushy beard when captured.
posted by johnnyboy at 7:00 AM on July 8, 2004


My point was that he made an argument, and instead of refuting his claims with facts

Your error is in repeatedly characterizing his remarks as "an argument." Simply stating that you have "no doubt" that something about which you have no data is true is precisely the opposite of an argument. Certainly no one should call him an idiot, but in most cases it seems to be the attempt to portray wish-fulfillment as fact that people are objecting to, not his opinion itself.
posted by rushmc at 7:28 AM on July 8, 2004


Another argument against OBL as a July/October surprise: The Bushites have been obsessed with Iraq since the beginning, and just never took OBL that seriously. They have such narrow focus, and seem so incapable of bottom-up initiative, that I have a hard time believing they could have done the heavy-lifting required to lay groundwork for something like this as a background task.

Not without screwing it up, that is.

Or am I misunderestimating them again?
posted by lodurr at 7:35 AM on July 8, 2004


I don't think they'll reveal Osama's capture before the election, if only because so many people are speculating that they will. Nobody's buying, at this point.
posted by fungible at 7:36 AM on July 8, 2004


Speaking of Sadam and 9/11. Didn't Saddam say that we did a poor job after the towers fell at rescueing people from the rubble?
posted by tomplus2 at 7:43 AM on July 8, 2004


Sorry fungible, I disagree. None of "us" "internet-able" "liberal" "elites" buy it. (Quotes on purpose.) Most of them are not "us."

No matter what happens, I am voting on November 2. On the one hand, my vote will be nearly useless (Massachusetts, Kerry is winning, period). On the other hand, it is my duty to vote for the most important office in our country, and it is equally so that my vote not be swayed by something that happens close to the vote.

Even if you exclude every second of the War On Terror%trade;, the war in Iraq, and so on... Bush has been a national disaster. Tax break? Great idea... I even benefited in 2003. Oops, defecit is insane, trade defecit is beyond insane. "Clear Skies?" Hahahahaha. The list goes on and on...
posted by andreaazure at 8:07 AM on July 8, 2004


JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE THINKS SOMETHING DOESN'T MAKE IT AN ARGUMENT

And if you have " no fucking idea either way" you're being willfully obtuse. We're spending several million dollars to investigate the claim. A high-profile commission has reported that there is no connection. Besides, it defies all logic and historical precedence. You might not be convinced, but if you have "no idea", if you can't see that the evidence at least points in one particular direction, you're not nearly the fair and balanced arbiter you make yourself out to be.

Hmmm...the US hates North Korea. China hates North Korea. It's only logical that the US and China allies, right? Wrong. The enemy of my enemy is my friend ONLY if he, himself, isn't my enemy. Iraq and Al Quaeda were enemies.
posted by jpoulos at 8:29 AM on July 8, 2004


Quaeda Qaeda
posted by jpoulos at 8:32 AM on July 8, 2004


Did Saddam "cause" 9/11? No. Was he involved at some level? I think it's highly likely - more likely than not.

And this is why we went to war.

I remember before it all started, watching - I think it was NBC news - coverage of a counter-protest where they interviewed some flag-draped guy who said, "I know Saddam was involved in 9/11. I can feel it in my bones."

We went to war based on what people feel in their bones, because that is the reason they supported this war. Not on the basis of evidence - as of course there is yet to be any solid evidence proferred that Saddam had anything to do with 9/11 - but because of some sort of intuition, effective from thousands of miles away.

Nice reason for nearly 900 Americans to die, let alone how many Iraqis have been killed. Sorry about your child, ma'am - but we felt it in our bones.
posted by kgasmart at 8:39 AM on July 8, 2004


You won't see a civil war in this country until all TVs are off for a few days and America has a true sense of community.

The thing about the article is that GW really doesn't have to worry about focusing on OBL that much. He just has to put pressure on Pervez to do the hard work which is what the article says. When Bush talks about OBL he only hurts himself. That's why the American people won't hear anything about OBL unless he is captured. I hardly suspect Kerry will bring it up.

Frankly I fear Bush will be reelected, whether OBL is captured or not. I don't fear because I am lefty or a Democrat, but simply because of the brazen politicization of everything this administration has touched. That and the obsessive secrecy.
posted by infowar at 8:42 AM on July 8, 2004


as an aside, I don't think it's fair to say the average american is stupid because the average person anywhere is stupid.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:15 AM on July 8, 2004


i just personally have a hard time understanding why this sort of thing gets so much attention everywhere except in "mainstream" media. what, is AOL blocking metafilter? why aren't people rioting in the streets right now? bush is a disaster in every sense of the word, but nobody i talk to off-line seems to have any clue. it's about time that the media got their heads out of their collective asses and started hammering this excuse for a president on real issues. the recent pew foundation report says the same thing (if i remember correctly). i'm afraid that too much time has been wasted to reverse some of the damage, and that BushCo has had time to develop a defense against some of the more pointed barbs. i just don't understand how the administration of this country can continue its tradition of royally fucking up everything it touches and not have average george american start asking why. doing something as blatant as asking pakistan to deliver OBL on a specific date? great. next we'll have a staged assassination attempt on W, stopped at the last minute by a "heroic" effort on his part. (come on, if we're dumb enough to buy the planned capture, surely we're dumb enough to accept a scripted-in-hollywood attempt to make W look like a hero, right?)
posted by caution live frogs at 9:43 AM on July 8, 2004


And if you have " no fucking idea either way" you're being willfully obtuse.

I have no fucking idea either way if Hussein was aware that the attack would happen, or if he provided soft support for terrorist organizations that funneled its way into al Qaeda. Do you? Do you really? (I find it amusing that some people are more than willing to entertain the idea that Israel -- or even the U.S. itself -- had advance knowledge of the attacks, but go apoplectic at the mere speculation that Saddam Hussein might have been aware).

I do believe that there is no evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on the 9/11 attacks against the U.S., and that such a claim should not form the basis for action against Iraq. And, in fact, I always have.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:03 AM on July 8, 2004


Do you? Do you really?

Well, I don't know about anyone else, but: I do. Really!

I have a pretty good idea that, if Saddam knew anything, it wasn't because he was told. Because there is no good reason for AQ to have told him, and lots of good reasons for them not to.

I don't have facts in the sense of a transcript of testimony that says "we decided not to talk to Saddam" or "we would never talk to Saddam". I don't need that. I just need to know that it doesn't make any sense to suppose that they would, based on what I know about the world. And I know that I haven't encountered any new information about the world that would make me doubt that reasoning.

So, yeah. I have a pretty good idea on that. Yeah.


On Prev: The reason I bother to make this response is that this "no real idea" attitude is incredibly dangerous. It encourages us to turn off our brains and not analyze the situation based on stuff that we all know.

For example: We all know, if we think about it, that the more people we tell a secret to the less likely it is to stay secret. We can expect that some smart guys with a long history of successful terrorist attacks would know that, too. Ergo, we can expect that OBL wouldn't go blabbing to some random head of state that he planned to fly planes into buildings in the US.

If we use our brains -- if we think critically about the news we're being fed -- we can reason things like that out.
posted by lodurr at 10:46 AM on July 8, 2004


Israel -- or even the U.S. itself -- had advance knowledge of the attacks

Israel? Who said anything about Israel? I really like how you linked those who question the Saddam-ObL collaboration with far out moonbats. Nice bit of Limbaugh, there.
posted by plemeljr at 10:55 AM on July 8, 2004


I have no fucking idea either way if Hussein was aware that the attack would happen, or if he provided soft support for terrorist organizations that funneled its way into al Qaeda. Do you? Do you really?

An idea, yes. I wouldn't flip a coin. I'd take whatever evidence there was--the fact that they hated each other, stood for completely opposite ideals, had entirely different visions for the Middle East, for example--and base my judgement on that. If I had to lay money down, I'd bet that Hussein knew nothing about the attack.

Consider this: What possible benefit does Saddam gain from 9/11, or from helping Al Qaeda? And wasn't it entirely foreseeable that such an attack might make a great excuse for Son of Bush to attempt to depose him?


(I find it amusing that some people are more than willing to entertain the idea that Israel -- or even the U.S. itself -- had advance knowledge of the attacks, but go apoplectic at the mere speculation that Saddam Hussein might have been aware).

Now there's a straw man if I ever saw one.
posted by jpoulos at 11:00 AM on July 8, 2004


And this is why we went to war

WRONG. We went to war and toppled Saddam Hussein due to over a decade of flouting UN sanctions, not honoring the cease-fire agreement that he made in 1991, hundreds of thousands of crimes against humanity, repeated attacks on US military personnel, and not complying fully with WMD inspectors.

Pre-9/11, Hussein's actions were tolerable - barely - in the eyes of the Administration (Clinton and Bush), although Congress affirmed that "regime change in Iraq" was indeed the ultimate goal of US policy.

In the post-9/11 world, the President realized that tyrants such as Hussein - who, if you'll remember, invaded Kuwait, attacked Israel, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, and was thought by the entire world community to have large stockpiles of WMD - could not be tolerated.
posted by davidmsc at 11:59 AM on July 8, 2004


It would be just dandy if Kerry and Edwards would capture OBL themselves. Rent a chopper or sumpin. Now that'd be surprising!
posted by DenOfSizer at 12:14 PM on July 8, 2004


We went to war and toppled Saddam Hussein due to over a decade of flouting UN sanctions, not honoring the cease-fire agreement that he made in 1991, hundreds of thousands of crimes against humanity, repeated attacks on US military personnel, and not complying fully with WMD inspectors.

Really? Funny -- you seem to have missed this:

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(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.

Sincerely,

GEORGE W. BUSH


One has to wonder.

In the post-9/11 world, the President realized that tyrants such as Hussein

...were nice, easy targets for payback.
posted by riviera at 12:14 PM on July 8, 2004


Anybody want to waste their time refuting davidmsc's latest bullshit?

Like I said David, by your earlier logic, we should have attacked many other more dangerous and vile terrorist supporting dictatorships before even considering Iraq.
Tell me, why Iraq and not Pakistan? Why not Sudan? Why not North Korea?
We all already know and have refuted many times the tired arguments you once again present. Those and all the long line of other "arguments" coming out of the Mighty Wurlitzer. What's the next series of excuses? At least try to be fresh and/or creative!
posted by nofundy at 12:22 PM on July 8, 2004


WRONG. We went to war and toppled Saddam Hussein due to over a decade of flouting UN sanctions, not honoring the cease-fire agreement that he made in 1991, hundreds of thousands of crimes against humanity, repeated attacks on US military personnel, and not complying fully with WMD inspectors.

I love ex post justifications for pre-emptive action. There's a special ring in the air when I say, "ex post justification for pre-emptive action." It's almost as much fun as saying, "The absence of evidence that Saddam and Al Qaeda did not cooperate makes our argument that they did even stronger."

Where does UN Resolution 1441 say anything about the U.S. invading Iraq?
posted by bafflegab at 12:31 PM on July 8, 2004


nofundy: Refute him? Refute what? All he's got is gut-calls.

He still hasn't given any explanation of why OBL/AQ would ever want to be involved with Saddam -- and especially why in the world they would do something stupid like tell him their plans.

Or, for that matter, why Saddam would want to cozy up to a bunch of guys who'd as soon chop his head off as look at him.

I like gkasmart's earlier point: This was all about gut-calls, not facts. If we'd used our goddamn brains instead of caving in to the twisting fear in our gut...
posted by lodurr at 12:35 PM on July 8, 2004


It would be just dandy if Kerry and Edwards would capture OBL themselves. Rent a chopper or sumpin. Now that'd be surprising!
posted by DenOfSizer at 2:14 PM CST on July 8


What, like the Wonder Twins?
posted by the fire you left me at 12:56 PM on July 8, 2004


Good lord, you people are just too much. Go back to sleep and dream of a Nader (or Moore) presidency, and be sure to wash the sheets afterwards.
posted by davidmsc at 1:03 PM on July 8, 2004


davidmsc, don't you ever re-read your continual sexual entendres and cringe?

I mean, the other day you were getting off on a bondage fantasy with Cheney and Edwards; now you're imagining us having nocturnal emissions... I mean, don't you have anything else to think about? Or couldn't you at least for a moment try to think of some serious issue without sublimating your sexual fantasies or frustrations?
posted by lodurr at 1:25 PM on July 8, 2004


WRONG. We went to war and toppled Saddam Hussein due to over a decade of flouting UN sanctions, not honoring the cease-fire agreement that he made in 1991, hundreds of thousands of crimes against humanity, repeated attacks on US military personnel, and not complying fully with WMD inspectors.

Wrong. These have been the shifting justifications for the war.

The reason we went to war was because the American public, and too many of its leaders, felt it in their bones that Saddam was somehow behind 9/11, and supported the war on that basis.

How many would have been inclined to support the war had Bush come out and said, "Saddam Hussein was not involved in 9/11, but we feel he is a significant enough threat regardless that we believe it is our duty to topple his regime?"

Damned few, and this administration knew it. The war doesn't happen without the support of a majority of the population, and the easiest way to manufacture that support if through fear and insinuation.

And you bought it, my friend.
posted by kgasmart at 2:00 PM on July 8, 2004


"the President realized that tyrants such as Hussein could not be tolerated."

Why not? Seriously. As many predicted before the war started, it turns out we'd have been much better off just tolerating him. If we'd stayed with the tried and proven policy of just tolerating him: We'd be more secure, we'd be $200+ billion richer, our standing around the world would be better, thousands of dead people would still be alive, we'd have a much better handle on fighting terrorism, the dollor wouldn't be so weak, etc.

Not to mention the fact the Bush would have had a much better chance of getting re-elected.

I put it to you davidmsc, wouldn't we have been better off just tolerating him?
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:29 PM on July 8, 2004


y6y6y6, don't forget the fact that all administrative intelligence a year prior to the war (and earlier) suggested that U.N. sanctions were working to contain Saddam.
posted by The God Complex at 3:34 PM on July 8, 2004


In the post-9/11 world, the President realized that tyrants such as Hussein... could not be tolerated.

I'd love to know what you think of the Bush administration's utterly shameful cuddling with the House of Saud.
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:46 PM on July 8, 2004


Good lord, you people are just too much. Go back to sleep and dream of a Nader (or Moore) presidency, and be sure to wash the sheets afterwards.

So that would mean you don't have a single credible backing to your godlike rebuttal of everyone. Got it.

sonofsamiam: let's not forget Bush's good friend President Karimov, who in the post-9/11 world is apparently tolerated when boiling people alive. I'm sure davidsmc has a response to that; I'm assuming it involves how we all just don't get it followed by something involving ejaculation.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:31 PM on July 8, 2004


...Israel -- or even the U.S. itself -- had advance knowledge of the attacks

Israel? Who said anything about Israel? I really like how you linked those who question the Saddam-ObL collaboration with far out moonbats. Nice bit of Limbaugh, there.


People (I'm speaking generally here) speculate Israel might have had advance knowledge because of this, this, this and this. Here is the long version.
posted by euphorb at 7:59 PM on July 8, 2004


euphorb, I know that there are crack ideas out there about Israel knowing about 9/11, but that bit of straw-man was intended only to rhetorically link those who question the administration with crazy conspiracy moonbats.
posted by plemeljr at 9:01 AM on July 9, 2004


Wrong. These have been the shifting justifications for the war. The reason we went to war was because the American public, and too many of its leaders, felt it in their bones that Saddam was somehow behind 9/11, and supported the war on that basis.

What? There have never been any shifting justifications for the war. The justifications have been consistent and noted every time they have been presented. The fact that you say reason instead of reasons shows how little you pay attention. And your source -- a guy on the street, a random nobody questioned for some NBC broadcast, maybe, sometime before the war -- becomes the big reason in your mind, which you're willing to attribute to the administration itself, without a link or a source but only, and this is the ironic part, because you feel it in your bones! That's rich. You are a media person, correct? Ah, delightful.

Let's flashback to Powell's presentation to the United Nations on February 5, 2003, during which the justifications were presented, in order, as:

1) Violations of UN Resolution 1441
2) Intel or lack thereof regarding WMD
3) Links to terror organizations
4) Violations of human rights

During the links to terror organizations section, Powell did reference Al-Qaida, but not once did he state that Saddam held responsibility for 9/11.


How many would have been inclined to support the war had Bush come out and said, "Saddam Hussein was not involved in 9/11, but we feel he is a significant enough threat regardless that we believe it is our duty to topple his regime?"


Read Powell's remarks, that is exactly what was said. Not only in that address, but in other pre-war addresses made by Bush, during which all of these justifications are consistently re-iterated, including Saddam Hussein was not involved in 9/11, but we feel he is a significant enough threat regardless that we believe it is our duty to topple his regime. Exactly what you asked for.

November, 2002:
We know that Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network share a common enemy: the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al-Qaida have had high-level contacts that go back a decade.

Some al-Qaida leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al-Qaida leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks.

We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaida members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September 11 Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.

Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.

Some have argued that confronting the threat from Iraq could detract from the war against terror. To the contrary, confronting the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror.

When I spoke to Congress more than a year ago, I said that those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves. Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror, the instruments of mass death and destruction, and he cannot be trusted. The risk is simply too great that he will use them or provide them to a terror network.

Terror cells and outlaw regimes building weapons of mass destruction are different faces of the same evil. Our security requires that we confront both, and the United States military is capable of confronting both.
. . .
The time of denying, deceiving and delaying has come to an end. Saddam Hussein must disarm himself, or, for the sake of peace, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.

Many nations are joining us and insisting that Saddam Hussein's regime be held accountable. They are committed to defending the international security that protects the lives of both our citizens and theirs.

And that's why America is challenging all nations to take the resolutions of the UN Security Council seriously. These resolutions are very clear. In addition to declaring and destroying all of its weapons of mass destruction, Iraq must end its support for terrorism. It must cease the persecution of its civilian population. It must stop all illicit trade outside the oil-for-food program. It must release or account for all Gulf War personnel, including an American pilot whose fate is still unknown.

By taking these steps and by only taking these steps, the Iraqi regime has an opportunity to avoid conflict.

These steps would also change the nature of the Iraqi regime itself. America hopes the regime will make that choice. Unfortunately, at least so far, we have little reason to expect it. And that's why two administrations - mine and President Clinton's - have stated that regime change in Iraq is the only certain means of removing a great danger to our nation
Go scour the entire speech, you won't find a single mention of any "feeling in the bones", nor an accusation that Iraq was responsible for 9/11. It does, however, directly state the reasons (plural) why Saddam was a significant enough threat that we were justified in toppling the regime. Nearly in those exact words.

You will, also, find an answer to nofundy's question, "Tell me, why Iraq and not Pakistan? Why not Sudan? Why not North Korea?"
Many Americans have raised legitimate questions about the nature of the threat, about the urgency of action. Why be concerned now? About the link between Iraq developing weapons of terror and the wider war on terror.

These are all issues we've discussed broadly and fully within my administration, and tonight I want to share those discussions with you.

First, some ask why Iraq is different from other countries or regimes that also have terrible weapons. While there are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place.

Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a murderous tyrant who has already used chemical weapons to kill thousands of people. This same tyrant has tried to dominate the Middle East, has invaded and brutally occupied a small neighbor, has struck other nations without warning and holds an unrelenting hostility toward the United States. By its past and present actions, by its technological capabilities, by the merciless nature of its regime, Iraq is unique.
. . .
And, of course, sophisticated delivery systems aren't required for a chemical or biological attack. All that might be required are a small container and one terrorist or Iraqi intelligence operative to deliver it. And that is the source of our urgent concern about Saddam Hussein's links to international terrorist groups.
y6y6y6 was practically mentioned by name:
Some believe we can address this danger by simply resuming the old approach to inspections and applying diplomatic and economic pressure. Yet this is precisely what the world has tried to do since 1991.

The UN inspections program was met with systematic deception. The Iraqi regime bugged hotel rooms and offices of inspectors to find where they were going next. They forged documents, destroyed evidence and developed mobile weapons facilities to keep a step ahead of inspectors. Eight so-called presidential palaces were declared off-limits to unfettered inspections. These sites actually encompass 12 square miles, with hundreds of structures both above and below the ground where sensitive materials could be hidden.

The world has also tried economic sanctions and watched Iraqi's billions of dollars in illegal oil revenues to fund more weapons purchases rather than provide for the needs of the Iraqi people.

The world has tried limited military strikes to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities, only to see them openly rebuilt while the regime again denies they even exist.

The world has tried no-fly zones to keep Saddam from terrorizing his own people, and in the last year alone the Iraqi military has fired upon American and British pilots more than 750 times.

After 11 years during which we've tried containment, sanctions, inspections, even selected military action, the end result is that Saddam Hussein still has chemical and biological weapons and is increasing his capabilities to make more. And he is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon.
y6y6y6, don't forget the fact that all administrative intelligence a year prior to the war (and earlier) suggested that U.N. sanctions were working to contain Saddam.

Don't forget, sanctions were a complete and utter failure because of widespread corruption in UNSCAM, which gave Saddam over $10 billion in unregulated funds to pay off suicide bombers, seek out enriched uranium, etc. Your argument sounds suspiciously like the argument that we were better off under the Clinton policy of tolerating bin Laden and his small group of fanatic mountain men because they couldn't really hurt us, could they? But when that all came crashing down with two WTC towers on 9/11, suddenly everyone fires up the spit to roast the intelligence gatherers for missing the oh-so obvious warning signs. Had we not gone into Iraq, and had Saddam eventually succeeded half as well as bin Laden, you'd hop that fence once again and lambast the leaders from a different angle. A documentary filmmaker would put together Powell's exact presentation in a visual format and you'd all be screaming bloody murder. No, I don't buy the rose-colored analysis that we'd all have been better off if we had left Saddam in power with a UN-funded allowance of $10 billion to be used outside the realm of global regulation. That's not what I'd call effective sanctioning; in fact, I'd call it just the opposite.
posted by David Dark at 9:52 AM on July 9, 2004


There have never been any shifting justifications for the war.

... followed by a long post referencing nothing but excerpts from one Powell speech before the UN and one Bush speech...

Denial must be a wonderful place. So many people love to live there...
posted by lodurr at 11:00 AM on July 9, 2004


euphorb, I know that there are crack ideas out there about Israel knowing about 9/11, but that bit of straw-man was intended only to rhetorically link those who question the administration with crazy conspiracy moonbats.

What a bunch of fruitcakes over at the Telegraph. Those nutcases actually believe that the CIA were warned by the Mossad. That paper must be run by lunatics. And the same goes for those whackos over at Die Zeit. Don't worry, you can ignore what they say because they're just fringe nutbars with no credibilty. It's not like they're respected outlets for journalism or anything.

And you're right of course. I don't know why I missed it. Those who question this administration are just lunatics with no credibilty. Those in power would never lie and have no reason to. You would have to be some kind of deranged America-hating communist to question their actions or hold them accountable.

ISRAELI intelligence officials say that they warned their counterparts in the United States last month that large-scale terrorist attacks on highly visible targets on the American mainland were imminent.

The Telegraph has learnt that two senior experts with Mossad, the Israeli military intelligence service, were sent to Washington in August to alert the CIA and FBI to the existence of a cell of as many of 200 terrorists said to be preparing a big operation.

"They had no specific information about what was being planned but linked the plot to Osama bin Laden and told the Americans that there were strong grounds for suspecting Iraqi involvement," said a senior Israeli security official.
posted by euphorb at 11:22 AM on July 9, 2004


Ah, David Dark. I suppose I should have been waiting for you to jump in.

Volley!

Not only in that address, but in other pre-war addresses made by Bush, during which all of these justifications are consistently re-iterated, including Saddam Hussein was not involved in 9/11, but we feel he is a significant enough threat regardless that we believe it is our duty to topple his regime....

We know that Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network share a common enemy: the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al-Qaida have had high-level contacts that go back a decade.


What is this, Mr. Dark, if not insinuation?

"We know Iraq and al-Qaida have had high-level contacts that go back a decade" + al-Qaida is responsible for 9/11 = Iraq had something to do with 9/11.

You are correct in asserting that Mr. Bush did not say this. But he didn't have to say it, now did he?

Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror, the instruments of mass death and destruction, and he cannot be trusted. The risk is simply too great that he will use them or provide them to a terror network.

As I recall, among the terrorists apprehended in Iraq were Abu Abbas, indeed responsible for the death of an American. At last count more than 880 Americans had died in invading Iraq.

And we still have yet to find those pesky WMDs.

You do the cost-benefit analysis, pal.

We could go on about this for days, but the fact is that virtually everything you've linked here underscores my assertion, that this administration made every effort it possibly could to tie Iraq to al-Qaida in the American mind without having to actually come out and say something that wasn't true.

Which results in folks such as yourself arguing strenuously that though administration officials referenced the "gathering threat" of Iraq they never really said "imminent," as if the practical effect of the words wasn't exactly the same.

I reiterate: The American public would not have supported this war unless they believed that there was some real connection between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and what happened on September 11. Americans don't send their sons to fight and die in some foreign land on the basis of something that might happen.

And you know, your argument sounds suspiciously like that of the Cold Warriors who insisted that we needed to duke it out with the Soviet Union right now because though hundreds of thousands might be killed, we'd be avoiding greater casualties in the long run.

But that wasn't quite the way that worked, was it?
posted by kgasmart at 12:22 PM on July 9, 2004


Read Powell's remarks, that is exactly what was said. Not only in that address, but in other pre-war addresses made by Bush, during which all of these justifications are consistently re-iterated, including Saddam Hussein was not involved in 9/11, but we feel he is a significant enough threat regardless that we believe it is our duty to topple his regime. Exactly what you asked for.

Bull. Shit. You curiously leave off all those addresses mentioning that 'we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud'.

Go scour the entire speech, you won't find a single mention of any "feeling in the bones", nor an accusation that Iraq was responsible for 9/11.

Juxtaposition, David. Juxtaposition and insinuation. You're an expert at it yourself.

Saddam Hussein also has experience in using chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the number of people who died in the attacks of September 11.

Why the comparison? To leave the impression in the mind. Bush could have said 'around a third of the number of people who died in the attack on Hiroshima'. That would have left an entirely different impression.

[on preview: what kgasmart said.]

And I refer you again to the letters to Congress, signed by Bush himself, justifying the use of force under the remit given to him.
posted by riviera at 1:28 PM on July 9, 2004


Oh, I get it now, fellas. It's all about insinuation, crafty voiceovers and juxtoposed images with just the right soundtrack. They don't say what they mean, they just drop clues and let the listener fill in the blanks. You're playing by Michael Moore rules, pretending that the President and Secretary of State make their case to the world as if they were a fat paranoid filmmaker. Clearly someone is being manipulated, that much is certain.

Now that I understand your train of thought, I'll drop my case.
posted by David Dark at 5:38 PM on July 9, 2004


You're playing by Michael Moore rules, pretending that the President and Secretary of State make their case to the world as if they were a fat paranoid filmmaker.

Nah. 'Fat paranoid filmmakers' don't have the power to start wars. Nor do you, David Dark, though at times, I suspect you'd like to. See? Big difference there. Michael Moore never started a war in his life.

What's interesting about Moore's film, though, is that he does use some of the tactics of the Bush admin against it. But only some. The consequences are presented quite without insinuation.
posted by riviera at 7:20 AM on July 10, 2004


Now that I understand your train of thought, I'll drop my case.
Bail out, bail out!

Bush: "Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases."
Bush: "Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans -- this time armed by Saddam Hussein."
Bush: "He's a threat because he is dealing with al Qaeda." ... "Iraq has sent bomb-making and document forgery experts to work with al Qaeda. Iraq has also provided al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training." [Bush] called Hussein "an ally of al Qaeda."
Bush: "Iraqi intelligence officers met with bin Laden, the head of al Qaeda, in the Sudan."

Now, why would half of Americans think that Saddam had something to do with 9-11?
That's not to say that he didn't, and the evidence is not collected yet, or not yet collated into a convincing package. Anything's possible.

But don't try to pretend that Bush has not made that implication.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:43 AM on July 10, 2004


Al-Qaeda is not synonymous with 9/11, people. Al-Qaeda has many operatives that weren't involved in 9/11, has performed many other operations over the past decade that have killed many innocent civilians that didn't involve 9/11. Just because someone has ties to Al-Qaeda doesn't necessarily imply that they were involved with or had knowledge about 9/11. You're implying that Al-Qaeda = 9/11 and 9/11 only, which is false. I'm trying to make that distinction, and you fellas are trying to muddle it all together into one.

Bush: "Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans -- this time armed by Saddam Hussein."

Case in point: the use of the phrase "this time" above implies that those 19 hijackers weren't armed by Saddam Hussein last time. Logically, you can not accuse Bush of making an implication when in fact he has made a distinction between the two.

Next?
posted by David Dark at 4:00 PM on July 10, 2004


Al-Qaeda has many operatives that weren't involved in 9/11, has performed many other operations over the past decade that have killed many innocent civilians that didn't involve 9/11.

And al-Zarqawi, the one so-called 'al-Qaeda operative' mentioned by Colin Powell, isn't actually an al-Qaeda operative at all. ('There is no evidence that Zarqawi, a Jordanian operating in Iraq, has ever been an Al Qaeda member - although Cheney and a few others in the Bush administration continue to try to paint him that way, apparently for political reasons.')And his supposed 'contacts' with Iraq are even more tenuous than the hello-howareyou contacts with al-Q people cited back in the early 90s.

Were you thinking of anyone else, perchance? Please, enlighten us.

You're implying that Al-Qaeda = 9/11 and 9/11 only, which is false. I'm trying to make that distinction, and you fellas are trying to muddle it all together into one.

Er, no: we're implying that al-Qaeda = the Osama club, in all its manifestations. And Saddam wasn't a member.

What part of 'There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship' don't you understand?
posted by riviera at 4:13 PM on July 10, 2004


And al-Zarqawi, the one so-called 'al-Qaeda operative' mentioned by Colin Powell, isn't actually an al-Qaeda operative at all.

Okay, Mr. Moore. If you say so. Or rather, if an ex-Defense Department official (who no longer holds a security clearance and has no more information on the subject than you or I) says so, it must be true! We feel it in our bones. . .

Let's be clear about David Wright's comments -- he is not saying with certainty that Zarqawi isn't an al-Qaeda operative, he is saying yes, we know Zarqawi is a major terrorist with major resources and yes, we've intercepted communication from Zarqawi to bin Laden, BUT -- we have not intercepted communication from bin Laden to Zarqawi, and therefore we can't say for sure that bin Laden has actually sent communication to Zarqawi. Granted. Irrelevant, but granted.

What part of 'There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship' don't you understand?

I understand that the 9/11 commission concluded there wasn't conclusive evidence of a direct link between Iraq and al Qaeda in regards to the 9/11 attacks. I also understand that a lack of evidence doesn't prove a negative. Chairman Thomas Kean has stated: "There were contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda, a number of them, some of them a little shadowy. They were definitely there." 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.

You claim that the known links between them from the 90's aren't substantial enough to constitute war, and I don't disagree. But my contention was never that Saddam was directly responsible for 9/11, nor that his links to al-Qaeda were the lone reason for the war. That was kgasmart's infantile assertion, and in response to that I listed the reasons that were cited to remove Saddam, of which links to terror was a subset, of which al Qaeda was a subset, and of which Zarqawi was mentioned by name as an example. Now you want to zoom in on him and try to make him the central focus of the discussion because you found a supportive opinion attached to a resume that includes the DOD from once upon a time. Arguments don't get much weaker than that.

If anyone is looking for a cassus belli, this is it. From a legal standpoint, no other justification is necessary. However, it's true that the US might not have felt so compelled to act, and to act without the consent of the corrupt Member States involved in UNSCAM, if it wasn't for other reasons, including the recent decision to use military force against terrorism.

Iraq's links to terrorism:
Iraq is one of seven countries that have been designated by the Secretary of State as state sponsors of international terrorism. UNSCR 687 prohibits Saddam Hussein from committing or supporting terrorism, or allowing terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq. Saddam continues to violate these UNSCR provisions.

* In 1993, the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) directed and pursued an attempt to assassinate, through the use of a powerful car bomb, former U.S. President George Bush and the Emir of Kuwait. Kuwaiti authorities thwarted the terrorist plot and arrested 16 suspects, led by two Iraqi nationals.

* Iraq shelters terrorist groups including the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO), which has used terrorist violence against Iran and in the 1970s was responsible for killing several U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians.

* Iraq shelters several prominent Palestinian terrorist organizations in Baghdad, including the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), which is known for aerial attacks against Israel and is headed by Abu Abbas, who carried out the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro and murdered U.S. citizen Leon Klinghoffer.

* Iraq shelters the Abu Nidal Organization, an international terrorist organization that has carried out terrorist attacks in twenty countries, killing or injuring almost 900 people. Targets have included the United States and several other Western nations. Each of these groups have offices in Baghdad and receive training, logistical assistance, and financial aid from the government of Iraq.

* In April 2002, Saddam Hussein increased from $10,000 to $25,000 the money offered to families of Palestinian suicide/homicide bombers. The rules for rewarding suicide/homicide bombers are strict and insist that only someone who blows himself up with a belt of explosives gets the full payment. Payments are made on a strict scale, with different amounts for wounds, disablement, death as a "martyr" and $25,000 for a suicide bomber. Mahmoud Besharat, a representative on the West Bank who is handing out to families the money from Saddam, said, "You would have to ask President Saddam why he is being so generous. But he is a revolutionary and he wants this distinguished struggle, the intifada, to continue."

* Former Iraqi military officers have described a highly secret terrorist training facility in Iraq known as Salman Pak, where both Iraqis and non-Iraqi Arabs receive training on hijacking planes and trains, planting explosives in cities, sabotage, and assassinations.
All of these links, taken separately, maybe aren't a justification for war. But, collectively, they make a strong case. And this is all without considering ties to al-Qaeda or that pesky little terrorist known as Zarqawi. Let's throw Zarqawi in for good measure, taking into consideration that we can't say with absolute certainty whether or not Zarqawi is a sworn, pledged, and inducted member of the Osama club. Nevertheless. . .

Powell:
According to detainees Abu Atiya, who graduated from Zarqawi's terrorist camp in Afghanistan, tasked at least nine North African extremists in 2001 to travel to Europe to conduct poison and explosive attacks.
Zarqawi training terrorists in Afghanistan. I acknowledge the possibility that Zarqawi's camps were distinct entities from bin Laden's camps -- maybe they were collaborating, maybe they just had spring mixers. Either way, a heavyweight terrorist fled from Afghanistan to Baghdad.
Now let me add one other fact. We asked a friendly security service to approach Baghdad about extraditing Zarqawi and providing information about him and his close associates. This service contacted Iraqi officials twice and we passed details that should have made it easy to find Zarqawi. The network remains in Baghdad. Zarqawi still remains at large, to come and go.
Attempted diplomacy to acquire Zarqawi, failed. Saddam continuing to harbor known terrorists, in violation of UN Resolutions.
We are not surprised that Iraq is harboring Zarqawi and his subordinates. This understanding builds on decades-long experience with respect to ties between Iraq and al-Qaida. Going back to the early and mid-1990s when bin Laden was based in Sudan, an al-Qaida source tells us that Saddam and bin Laden reached an understanding that al-Qaida would no longer support activities against Baghdad. Early al-Qaida ties were forged by secret high-level intelligence service contacts with al-Qaida, secret Iraqi intelligence high-level contacts with al-Qaida.
If true, this establishes a treaty, however informal, between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida, which makes them allies. By the way, that particularly relevant quote is from bin Laden's original indictment by the DOJ on November 4, 1998, which also says this:
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.
Again, all of these points, while interesting, are irrelevant to the final justification of 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. Claiming otherwise is simple propaganda to divert attention from the myriad of justifications actually cited on numerous occasions leading up to the war. Saddam Hussein's Iraq supported terrorism -- this much is clear. He doesn't have to take orders from bin Laden, or vice versa, for there to be a collaborative pact between them in pursuit of common goals.

These blanks might be a little difficult to fill in without the voiceovers and soundtrack, but remember, all this is on top of Saddam's violation of Resolution 1441, a weighty issue in and of itself. But we're still not finished. Here's the list of other reasons why we went to war in Iraq:

Complete List of Saddam Hussein's Defiance of United Nations Resolutions
Saddam Hussein's Development of Weapons of Mass Destruction
Saddam Hussein's Repression of the Iraqi People
Saddam Hussein's Refusal to Account for Gulf War Prisoners
Saddam Hussein's Refusal to Return Stolen Property
Saddam Hussein's Efforts to Circumvent Economic Sanctions

Again, any one of the above reasons, taken alone, probably wouldn't justify a war -- but all of the reasons, collectively, add up to a very strong justification for the use of force to remove the regime. In considering grounds on which to discredit justification for the war, you should keep in mind that there isn't just one solitary reason, no matter how much kgasmart feels it in his bones. That assertion is analagous to literally holding a single piece of straw responsible for breaking the camel's back while ignoring the mountain of weight the camel had been straining under for years. If you can't positively discredit all the reasons or a majority of the reasons, collectively, then you likewise can't undermine the case against Saddam Hussein.
posted by David Dark at 3:51 AM on July 11, 2004


Or rather, if an ex-Defense Department official (who no longer holds a security clearance and has no more information on the subject than you or I) says so, it must be true! We feel it in our bones. . .

Oh, fuck right off. Zarqawi has never been regarded by anyone with any degree of intelligence as 'al-Qaeda'. His Tawhid organisation, based in Jordan and focused on the Israel-Palestine conflict, has always been separate.

And really, had the things you cited -- some of which (i.e. the Daddy Bush assassination plot) are of dubious veracity -- been presented as the cassus belli, do you really think that the Americans (and especially the British) would have signed up for war? Nah.

If you can't positively discredit all the reasons or a majority of the reasons, collectively, then you likewise can't undermine the case against Saddam Hussein.

David Dark's reasons != George Bush's most prominent reasons.

David Dark did not make the case for war to the American people, or to the British people. And snowballing us with legalistic post hoc justifications when the run-up was an unsubtle 'WMD! WMD! 9/11!' doesn't change that in the slightest.

Do you not understand? You're presenting the small print as if it were in bold-face 24-point at the top of the page.

Also, more insinuations from Dark, D.

I also understand that a lack of evidence doesn't prove a negative. -- and you're willing it to prove a hidden positive.

If anyone is looking for a cassus belli, this is it. From a legal standpoint, no other justification is necessary. -- Nah. No 'automaticity' in 1441. Sorry.

All of these links, taken separately, maybe aren't a justification for war. But, collectively, they make a strong case. -- but they weren't the case made by Bush.

maybe they were collaborating, maybe they just had spring mixers. -- Or, maybe not. Gimme a 'in'! Gimme a 'sin'! Gimme a 'u'...

this establishes a treaty, however informal... which makes them allies -- no, it doesn't. Do you have any idea what a 'treaty' is? Obviously not. It's not 'spit on your hand and shake mine'.

If you can't positively discredit all the reasons or a majority of the reasons, collectively, then you likewise can't undermine the case against Saddam Hussein.

Again, you're treating the run-up to war as if the public were issued a contract in which everything had legal force. It wasn't. It was sold on false pretences and dodgy intel. If you can't show that, without the falsehoods and overestimations and scare tactics, legislators and the general public would have signed up for war, then you can't justify it. What reason there was, was contaminated beyond repair. Someone puked in your soup-bowl, David Dark, and now no-one wants to eat it.
posted by riviera at 7:00 AM on July 11, 2004


In short:

It's one thing to arrest and try Al Capone on tax evasion.

It's another thing entirely to start a war saying that Al Capone has weapons of mass destruction that pose a 'gathering threat', then to claim afterwards, 'well, he didn't pay his taxes'.
posted by riviera at 7:04 AM on July 11, 2004


Oh, fuck right off. Zarqawi has never been regarded by anyone with any degree of intelligence as 'al-Qaeda'. His Tawhid organisation, based in Jordan and focused on the Israel-Palestine conflict, has always been separate.

Says who? Where are your links, some type of evidence, an authority on the subject? Zarqawi has been regarded as 'al-Qaeda' by virtually everyone -- I know I can google and have 20 references to Zarqawi/al-Qaeda in minutes. He's trained and provided training to others in Afghanistan and Baghdad, and having a 'base' in Jordan is about as relevant as the base in Sudan was to bin Laden. How does Afghanistan and Baghdad relate to the Israel-Palestine conflict? Why is he beheading Westerners in Iraq if he is only concerned with Palestine and Jordan? Why is he writing letters to bin Laden if he's never had any ties to al-Qaeda?

And really, had the things you cited -- some of which (i.e. the Daddy Bush assassination plot) are of dubious veracity -- been presented as the cassus belli, do you really think that the Americans (and especially the British) would have signed up for war? Nah.

They were, and we did. Sorry, riviera, it's your mistake, not mine or Bush's or Blair's. You were told from the beginning, if you had been listening, all of the reasons. I was paying attention the first time, and it was made clear that there was an accumulation of reasons, not just WMD or 9/11. The reasons aren't new, they're not post hoc, they were cited from the beginnning and they were constantly referenced. If you only focused on WMD and 9/11, you have no one to blame but yourself for not paying attention, but don't blame me because you can't focus on more than one idea at a time.

It's another thing entirely to start a war saying that Al Capone has weapons of mass destruction that pose a 'gathering threat', then to claim afterwards, 'well, he didn't pay his taxes'.


What kind of a mixed analogy is this? Al Capone has WMD? I suppose you're equating tax evasion with supporting terrorism, executing hundreds of thousands of people and abusing children, etc. . . Any reason that isn't WMD or 9/11 is 'tax evasion'. Look, if Al Capone has been released on probation, but he hasn't reported to his probation officer in four years and it's being reported that he has weapons of mass destruction and he hasn't paid his taxes, you get a warrant for his violation of probation -- and you go in and you find out what he's up to. If it turns out that the crates in his warehouse are full of umbrellas, you call him an idiot for not reporting to his probation officer and you prosecute him for tax evasion. This is really hard for you, isn't it?
posted by David Dark at 11:01 AM on July 11, 2004


Says who? Where are your links, some type of evidence, an authority on the subject? Zarqawi has been regarded as 'al-Qaeda' by virtually everyone -- I know I can google and have 20 references to Zarqawi/al-Qaeda in minutes. ]

From Juan Cole: Zarqawi not al-Qaeda: Comment by David Wright

David Wright, a former Defense Department analyst and former Army Reserve strategic intelligence analyst has sent the following letter to the Washington Post and shares it here as a guest commentary:
' In some of your reporting (but happily not all) you refer to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as "a top Al Qaeda operative", etc.

There is no evidence that Zarqawi, a Jordanian operating in Iraq, has ever been an Al Qaeda member - although Cheney and a few others in the Bush administration continue to try to paint him that way, apparently for political reasons.

Zarqawi is a dangerous, highly effective militant Islamist. His tactical and strategic abilities have been behind perhaps 50% or more of the most effective attacks against the U.S. and Coalition forces (and the UN, Red Cross and peaceful Iraqis) over the past year. Zarqawi makes common cause with Osama Bin Laden (UBL) and Al Qaeda in some respects.

So far, however, there does not appear to be any evidence whatsoever that Zarqawi has received ANY money, personnel, direction, or support of any nature from UBL or Al Qaeda. In the past year he is known to have twice tried to get support from UBL, without success. In one intercepted letter he said that if UBL and Al Qaeda would support him and his resistance group in Iraq, he would accept UBL as his leader and support him in turn. No sign, however, of any response.

And consider: Despite Zarqawi’s dozens of actions within Iraq against the U.S. and Coalition forces, and Iraqis who are seen as supporting the Coalition -- many of which have been devastatingly successful such as the boat attacks on the Basra oil shipment points, and last year’s bomb attacks against UN and Red Cross headquarters - UBL and Al Qaeda have NEVER taken credit for those attacks in their own press releases.


Please consider your editorial policy, as to how the Post will refer to Zarqawi in your various articles and broadcasts. This is a rather important point, since repetition by the Post of the Bush administration “Big Lie” connecting Zarqawi to Al Qaeda appears to be a callous effort to influence U.S. public opinion without any factual basis. It is factual to mention (as often as you feel appropriate) that a few members of the Bush administration contend that Zarqawi is related to Al Qaeda. (One senior member of Congress indeed conflates Abu Musab al Zarqawi with Ayman al Zawahiri, an Egyptian physician who is indeed UBL’s senior surviving assistant.) But it is important to recognize that neither the U.S. military, the CIA nor Colin Powell make this claim.

Thanks for listening.

Ironically, Zarqawi did go from Jordan to Afghanistan for training back in the Eighties, in the days when the U.S. wanted help in pushing the Soviets out - guess who provided the money for his training! But Zarqawi thereafter created camps separate from those of UBL; and has ever since been seen as a competitor, not a member of UBL’s team.

PS: Wouldn’t it be a good idea if THE WASHINGTON POST.com updated its profile on this important man, and provided links to that profile in your articles that mention him?

Finally: I’ll go out on limb, and predict that Zarqawi will be captured or killed within the next 60 days. The U.S. military has figured out that it was a mistake to allow Fallujah to become a sanctuary for Zarqawi and the
scores of resistance fighters that he leads. If and when he is neutralized, my guess is that 2/3 of the successful militant attacks will cease right away - and the resistance thereafter may fade to nothing.

David C. Wright
Santa Monica CA USA

Former (long ago!) Defense Department analyst, former Army Reserve strategic
intelligence analyst '
posted by y2karl at 10:00 PM on July 11, 2004


Yeah, karl, riviera already linked to that, I already responded to it:

Let's be clear about David Wright's comments -- he is not saying with certainty that Zarqawi isn't an al-Qaeda operative, he is saying yes, we know Zarqawi is a major terrorist with major resources and yes, we've intercepted communication from Zarqawi to bin Laden, BUT -- we have not intercepted communication from bin Laden to Zarqawi, and therefore we can't say for sure that bin Laden has actually sent communication to Zarqawi. Granted. Irrelevant, but granted.

David Wright is an ex-Defense Department official who no longer holds a security clearance and has no more information on the subject than I do.

But it is important to recognize that neither the U.S. military, the CIA nor Colin Powell make this claim.

I guess David Wright missed Tenet's remarks to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 24 February 2004:
One of the most immediate threats is from smaller international Sunni extremist groups who have benefited from al-QA`ida links. They include groups as diverse as the al-Zarqawi network, the Ansar al-Islam in Iraq, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
I guess David Wright wasn't near a television when Colin Powell addressed the United Nations:
But what I want to bring to your attention today is the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and modern methods of murder. Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi an associate and collaborator of Usama bin Laden and his al-Qaida lieutenants.
I'm not sure I'd trust anything David Wright says. He seems to be wrong as much as you, karl.
posted by David Dark at 10:44 PM on July 11, 2004


> BREAKING NEWS
Security forces have captured a high-level al Qaeda operative in a raid in central Pakistan, Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat said. (From a CNN "breaking news alert.)
Just in time, too. There are just six hours until Kerry delivers his acceptance speech tonight at the DNC.

The article is up now. Breaking news?
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani security forces have captured a high-level al Qaeda operative in a raid in central Pakistan, Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat said Thursday.

Hayat said the east African, who was sought internationally, was captured "a few days back," and his capture shows "Pakistan is committed to fighting terrorism."

The man is being questioned, Hayat said.

"We have been quite successful ... in apprehending key figures," Hayat said. (1)
(Emphasis mine.)
posted by sequential at 1:02 PM on July 29, 2004


this can't be what they were thinking when they thought of July Surprise. To steal the thunder from Kerry tonight, they'd probably need to have Osama hogtied in a gunny-sack. But, as you said, there's still several hours left before Kerry hits the stage.
posted by crunchland at 1:12 PM on July 29, 2004


crunchland,

Agreed, but "a few days back"? The timing is what I am suspicious of - why would you wait a few days to release this news?
The minister said officials wanted to be sure of Ghailani's identity before making the capture public.
Does it really take a few days to verify the identify of someone you've been hunting down for the past six years? (That's an honest question. I simply don't know.)

It turns out that they captured Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who is believed to be involved in the embassy bombings in August 1998 that killed 213 people in Kenya and 11 in Tanzania. Ghailani is not mentioned in the public portion of the article on the New Republic.
posted by sequential at 1:36 PM on July 29, 2004


and then...
posted by numbskeleton at 1:47 PM on July 30, 2004


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