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Lies, lies, lies, yeah (part 7592?)
July 20, 2004 5:37 AM   Subscribe

We've already discovered, just so far, the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves.
Um, no. No, you haven't.
And USAID, in its report Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves, might want to do some fact-checking too, along with our dear leader as well ("There's mass graves"), and his supporters.
posted by amberglow (93 comments total)

 
Saddam's a total wuss. Pol Pot could have killed 5,000 during a commercial break and still had time to take a leak AND not miss a second of "Friends".

As for the ridiculous exaggerations, add it to the list. British people, let's make a deal. We'll vote out our guy if you promise to do the same next time it comes up. But if you can, put in Scargill instead of a Tory.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:52 AM on July 20, 2004


I suppose their argument would be that the actual figure doesn't matter, that anyone who needlessly and knowingly kills innocents is fundamentally evil.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:53 AM on July 20, 2004


Like I've said before, I just can't wait for Saddam's trial. No wonder they handed him over to the Iraqi's so easily -- they knew he'd get off if he got shipped to the Hague and the U.S. would end up looking like the criminals.

5,000 dead people -- not 400,000. That's a pretty big fucking difference. Hell, we've already killed more Iraqi's then that.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:59 AM on July 20, 2004


Mass Graves.
posted by hama7 at 6:01 AM on July 20, 2004


I suppose their argument would be that the actual figure doesn't matter

It totally does to the evil dictator. The whole reason Saddam even killed those 5,000 was to show up Idi Amin. Did you know that Saddam and Idi Amin were roommates in college, and Saddam always felt an intense rivalry that Idi didn't even care about? So Saddam wanted to kill more people than Idi and that's why Saddam sabotaged the radiation shield in Idi's rocket ship.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:07 AM on July 20, 2004


Iraq Body Count (apparently we're winning the bloodshed count as well as the hearts and minds of Iraqis everywhere, no?)
posted by amberglow at 6:11 AM on July 20, 2004


Well, in the interest of fairness, the fact that they've found 5,000 corpses in mass graves in no way means that that's the total body count of the Saddam regime. I think that using the lower figure for comparative purposes is pretty specious.

On the other hand, I am pretty goddamned tired of this administration and its suppporters using the fact that Saddam was evil (see Hama7's pictures) to gloss any and all lies that they've propagated.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 6:26 AM on July 20, 2004


Yes, the conclusion to draw from this is that Saddam was a real sweetheart. And the second conclusion to draw (if this is true) is that he only killed 5,000 people. Nevermind the Kurds, or the bodies that haven't been found.

Oh, and did you hear? The holocaust never happened, either.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:27 AM on July 20, 2004


Everyone missed my link. :(
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:27 AM on July 20, 2004


Way to reductio ad absurdem pardonyou?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:28 AM on July 20, 2004


sorry pretty
posted by amberglow at 6:32 AM on July 20, 2004


Just analogizing to a similar (flawed) line of reasoning, Pretty_Generic.

Look, I have no problem debating exactly how many bodies have been found, and (if this is true), asking why the initial statements were wrong. What I have a problem with is the completely unfounded leap in logic that says more people have died in the war than were killed by Saddam. Ask yourself why someone would try to make that assertion.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:44 AM on July 20, 2004


'Our estimates were based on estimates. The eventual figure was based in part on circumstantial information gathered over the years'
So thats how intelligence gathering works. I had been wondering lately. This makes me feel a lot better.
posted by davehat at 6:48 AM on July 20, 2004


What I have a problem with is the completely unfounded leap in logic that says more people have died in the war than were killed by Saddam. Ask yourself why someone would try to make that assertion.

Because if it's true it would make us more evil than the evil we supposedly disposed.
posted by agregoli at 6:50 AM on July 20, 2004


The point of this isn't that Saddam didn't kill a lot of people--it's the fact that the coalition has once again been found to be justifying the war based on facts that have no evidence to support them.
posted by jpoulos at 6:50 AM on July 20, 2004


Sorry, the supposed evil we disposed.
posted by agregoli at 6:50 AM on July 20, 2004


I share pardonyou?'s disgust at the people in this post saying saddam is a good guy. er!

it's actually pretty simple: everyone who is bad must be killed. once everyone who is bad is dead, freedom with ring.
posted by mcsweetie at 6:50 AM on July 20, 2004


From the Observer article it seems that Human Rights Watch believe (or believed, I don't know if they've revived their estimates) that about 300 000 people have gone 'missing'. Which is still a horrific number.
posted by PenDevil at 6:52 AM on July 20, 2004


The point of this isn't that Saddam didn't kill a lot of people

With all due respect, jpoulos, that appears to be exactly the point being made by Mayor Curley, Civil_Disobedient, and amberglow.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:57 AM on July 20, 2004


What I have a problem with is the completely unfounded leap in logic that says more people have died in the war than were killed by Saddam. Ask yourself why someone would try to make that assertion.

Umm... for the same reason that people would pull huge numbers of bodies out of their ass and lie about Saddam Hussein being the greatest threat to American lives, pardonyou?- to prove their point. Isn't that kind of obvious, or were you trying to be snarky?

People point out statistics if they support their viewpoint. The warhawks doled out a huge one that is apparently false. I don't see where "leap in logic" comes in. Either more people have died in the war under Saddam or they haven't. It's either correct or incorrect.

And clearly, no one now sympathizes or supports Saddam because he's apparently only a psychopathic asshole instead of a psychopathic motherfucker. But it's clear that we've come across yet another "let's call them 'exaggerations'" from the side screaming for an invasion of Iraq.

And in numbers terms, it also highlights a hypocrisy on behalf of American intervention. Genocide in the thousands instead of the hundreds of thousands doesn't reduce someone's status as a monster, but it does reduce their monstrosity to levels equivalent to several other incidents going on as we speak, including abuses in Saudi Arabia and the Sudan. Except now we're hard-pressed to intervene there, because our credibility, and our resources, have been massively over-expended fighting a nation we fabricated multiple reasons for invading in the first place.

Ultimately, the better question to ask would not be why the U.S. had so much incorrect information, but why it felt it had to give such false information to the public to sell a war.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:58 AM on July 20, 2004


Also at the risk of sending this further off topic (and Godwinising it even more), I don't see why comparing the number of persons killed is an accurate way to somehow work out the 'evilness' of someone. For instance how many Jews/Roma/Untermenschen did the Nazis kill by 1939? A few thousand perhaps? Is that palatable? What about by 1941? By 1945? Still palatable?
posted by PenDevil at 6:58 AM on July 20, 2004


With all due respect, jpoulos, that appears to be exactly the point being made by Mayor Curley, Civil_Disobedient, and amberglow.

My comment was aimed as much at them as it was at you, pardonyou? I agree that we must never lose sight of the fact that Saddam was a brutal dictator (to use a hackneyed expression). To do so makes the arguments of all of us who opposed the occupation lose their impact. This is demonstrated by the fact that you, pardonyou?, chose to jump on what you perceived to be our downplaying of Saddam's tyranny as an excuse to ignore the fact that, once again, you've been lied to.
posted by jpoulos at 7:09 AM on July 20, 2004


Look, I have no problem debating exactly how many bodies have been found, and (if this is true), asking why the initial statements were wrong.

well of course you don't, pardonyou?. because by posing as mystified men of reason and 'investigating' over long periods of time the 'unknown' reasons that the facts don't seem to be in alignment with the assertions, the people eventually forget the reeking odiferous fumage of the original lie. it's how you fuckers operate.
posted by quonsar at 7:10 AM on July 20, 2004


XQUZYPHYR, the leap (you could also say error) in logic I'm talking about is the same one you just made:

* 5,000 bodies have been found in mass graves.
* Therefore, Saddam Hussein only killed 5,000 people.

This is the same as:

* I found 72 cents under the cushions of my couch.
* Therefore, the only money I've ever lost is 72 cents.

One doesn't follow the other. And the Guardian article doesn't try to make that claim.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:17 AM on July 20, 2004


chose to jump on what you perceived to be our downplaying of Saddam's tyranny as an excuse to ignore the fact that, once again, you've been lied to.

Bullshit. I acknowledge freely I've been lied to. I acknowledge freely that my support of the war was mistaken. Had I known then what I know now, I would not have supported the war. That doesn't mean I have to sit by and watch people make absurd claims to try to spit shine the turd that is Saddam Hussein.

the people eventually forget the reeking odiferous fumage of the original lie. it's how you fuckers operate.

From one fucker to another -- fuck you.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:19 AM on July 20, 2004


I acknowledge freely I've been lied to. I acknowledge freely that my support of the war was mistaken. Had I known then what I know now, I would not have supported the war.

Hallellulah! I've been waiting to hear someone, anyone, say that for over a year now.
posted by rushmc at 7:29 AM on July 20, 2004


For instance how many Jews/Roma/Untermenschen did the Nazis kill by 1939? A few thousand perhaps? Is that palatable? What about by 1941? By 1945? Still palatable?

In contrast, whether it was in the hundred, tens or ones in total, how many did Saddam kill after 1991? A few thousand perhaps? Still invasion worthy?

Certainly more Iraqis--4000 insurgents* alone in the last year according to Coalition figures--have died in and since the invasion than under Saddam in the last couple of years. *And that's not counting the thousands of civilian casualties.

Killing thousands when thousands were not being killed because ten to hundred thousand were reputed to have been killed ten or more years past is an odd sort of humanitarian concern.
posted by y2karl at 7:32 AM on July 20, 2004


It seems to me that the real point of a story like this is not to quibble over who has killed more of the Iraqi people -- though unlike some, I do think the numbers matter. Rather, it adds another lie to add to the list of lies that we already know have been unshamefacedly advanced by Bush, Blair, and their uncritical media.

In fact, a story like this is good evidence in favor of the proposition that the difference between Fox and the New York Times is more a matter of style than of content. Both are outlets for whatever story US government officials decide to cook up on a given day, week, or month. Makes me think of Fisk's suggestion that 'there should be a newspaper called "Officials Say."'

I'm always surprised when the comments like those made above by amberglow et. al. are taken as support of Saddam Hussein. We all know Saddam Hussein was an evil, murderous dictator, we hear it in the newspaper every day and sane people obviously believe it's true. Regardless of whether you say you are for or against the war, pardonyou?, the only reason I can see for harping on how evil Saddam is in this context is to redirect the conversation.
posted by louigi at 7:33 AM on July 20, 2004


pardonyou?, no one has said this means Saddam Hussein only killed 5,000 people. That's a complete straw man. What all the people you pointed out- as well as myself and I'm sure many others throughout this thread- have said is that there is no proof Saddam killed 400,000 people as previously claimed. There's a huge difference there and you know it. You're claiming that we all believe something to duck the issue being that a lot of other people flat-out lied.

I suspect quite a few more than 5,000 died under Saddam, something that will take a while to discover. Just as it took a while to discover the carnage done to the region during the Sovet era, just as it will take a while to discover how much death was caused after the current regime is replaced a generation from now.

But as others noted, we have evidence of 5,000 deaths. Not 400,000. And it appears, as you just stated yourself, that the reason was to convince people into supporting this war.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:34 AM on July 20, 2004


Don't get me wrong, rushmc. I still think there was a moral basis for this war. However, the execution of the war was so completely bungled, and based on such bad information, and the aftermath has been so devastating and expensive, that I no longer see how we wouldn't have been better off with another course of action. A lot of it is just hindsight and negligence. But there's certainly been shown to be a propensity towards exaggeration and deceit that makes me a bit ill.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:34 AM on July 20, 2004


pardonyou?, read the thread. No-one claimed that Saddam only killed 5,000 people. Except possibly Mayor Curley, and he was taking the piss. Nobody supports Saddam for a second. The point here is that the coalition of the willing have lied to you yet again.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:34 AM on July 20, 2004


And in numbers terms, it also highlights a hypocrisy on behalf of American intervention. Genocide in the thousands instead of the hundreds of thousands doesn't reduce someone's status as a monster, but it does reduce their monstrosity to levels equivalent to several other incidents going on as we speak, including abuses in Saudi Arabia and the Sudan. Except now we're hard-pressed to intervene there, because our credibility, and our resources, have been massively over-expended fighting a nation we fabricated multiple reasons for invading in the first place.

Exactly.

What conservatives are consistently trying to do in re. Iraq is lower the bar for themselves -- to assert that the war was successful and/or justifiable if certain minimal conditions have been met.

Problem is, the bar needed to be set higher due to its pre-emptive nature and the opposition of most of our allies. If he had WMDs out the wazoo, then yeah, he had to go...but he had nothing but decades-old traces of chemical weapons. If the Iraqis were really so desperate to be rid of him that they'd welcome American occupation, then maybe...but they weren't, and they haven't. If we were prepared for a smooth occupation free of incident, leading naturally to the formation of a new government, at least no harm would have been done...but we can't say that.

And if Saddam had been slaughtering people in numbers rivaling Hitler, he had to be stopped...and while he was slaughtering people on a smaller if substantial scale, we just don't have the resources (or moral authority) to stop every dictator who does so, especially when we would need to kill thousands more in the process.

If hundreds of thousands of people were confirmed to have been killed, we'd have some reason why the war might have been worth its many costs (expense, loss of American life, strained relations with our allies, anger in the Arab world). These revised estimates, though, put Saddam back in the league of problems we knew about but didn't decide were worth fixing. It's the conservatives' job to explain why this particular problem was such a priority at this particular time, and every single shred of evidence has thus far demonstrated that it was not.

On preview: Let's not be quite so sensitive, pardonyou? We don't have to damn Saddam in the harshest terms every time we open our mouths to discuss him -- to do less is not tacit approval of what he was doing. But there is necessarily a continuum of unacceptability, and this pushes him quite a bit further down it. (We can certainly speculate about how many bodies we haven't found...but how does that make him different from any other horrible dictator?)
posted by Epenthesis at 7:36 AM on July 20, 2004


ith all due respect, jpoulos, that appears to be exactly the point being made by Mayor Curley, Civil_Disobedient, and amberglow.

I was just trying to tell everyone that they say this cat Pol Pot's a bad mother. He's really under-respected in discussions of genocidal maniacs. He's kind of like Dom DiMaggio-- he had big stats over most of his professional career, but people like Joe DiMaggio (Hitler) and Ted Williams (Stalin) were so huge that no one notices him.

Saddam's more like Kelly Gruber-- he put up impressive numbers for a few years, but he's not going into the hall of fame.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:38 AM on July 20, 2004


5,000 dead people -- not 400,000.

Well, let's give him a trophy for showing restraint, then.

You know, the only thing I've learned from this discussion is that it's very difficult to have a discussion about war crimes/genocide/dictators without sounding either glibly dismissive or utterly hysterical, even, no especially when you're trying to sound rational.
posted by jonmc at 7:45 AM on July 20, 2004


I acknowledge freely I've been lied to. I acknowledge freely that my support of the war was mistaken. Had I known then what I know now, I would not have supported the war.

not good enough. you willfully, ignorantly, unquestioningly gobbled up the vomitus of deception, boisterously and gleefully supported the deaths of tens of thousands, and now grasp righteously at straws you pray will keep your pathetic, propoganda-soaked cranium above the effluent. fucker.
posted by quonsar at 7:45 AM on July 20, 2004 [1 favorite]


But there is necessarily a continuum of unacceptability, and this pushes him quite a bit further down it.

This is the conclusion I don't believe anyone here is justified in drawing simply based on the fact (if it is fact) that "only" 5,000 bodies have been found. Unless you contend that the number of bodies found to date in mass graves = the number actually killed, I don't see how you can use this article to evaluate the actual extent of his actions.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:46 AM on July 20, 2004


not good enough. you willfully, ignorantly, unquestioningly gobbled up the vomitus of deception, boisterously and gleefully supported the deaths of tens of thousands, and now grasp righteously at straws you pray will keep your pathetic, propoganda-soaked cranium above the effluent. fucker.

You're just so darn cute when you're being an intolerable prick (even when you are so, so wrong). Can I just rub that big bald head of yours?
posted by pardonyou? at 7:50 AM on July 20, 2004


You know, the only thing I've learned from this discussion is that it's very difficult to have a discussion about war crimes/genocide/dictators without sounding either glibly dismissive or utterly hysterical, even, no especially when you're trying to sound rational.

Actually, what I've noticed is the lack of optimism about this. The difference in numbers reflects the severity of Team Bush's lies, but I would think that especially among the pro-war people the concept that 395,000 less people then they believed has been executed was, you know, fucking good.

See, nasty and horrific would be suggesting that the warhawks are really, really hoping that 400,000 people did die, so they can gloat about it on their weblogs tomorrow and continue never having to be wrong about anything, ever. But I'm above that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:55 AM on July 20, 2004


That doesn't mean I have to sit by and watch people make absurd claims to try to spit shine the turd that is Saddam Hussein.

And we don't have to sit by and watch people make absurd claims to try to justify an unjustified invasion and occupation. There's more than one turd being spit-shined here.

Pardonyou, a statement by Blair that he never had proof for in the first place, is now shown to be a lie, like all the others used to sell this war, both pre- and post-invasion. That means something. Something important. If you don't think so, then i'm sorry. I think we've had enough lies and exaggerations.
posted by amberglow at 7:55 AM on July 20, 2004


You're just so darn cute

see how the fuckers operate?
posted by quonsar at 8:00 AM on July 20, 2004


The difference in numbers reflects the severity of Team Bush's lies, but I would think that especially among the pro-war people the concept that 395,000 less people then they believed has been executed was, you know, fucking good.

Uh... aren't you just repeating the mistake again here that because only 5000 graves have been found only 5000 people were killed . As I mentioned earlier, Human Rights Watch believe the number of people to have 'disappeared' (I assume permanently) to be around 290 000.
posted by PenDevil at 8:03 AM on July 20, 2004


So, has anyone heard any recent reports of how the US humanitarian intervention in the Sudan has been going ?

I was so glad to hear the news that US troops were on their way to help prevent all those hundreds of thousands of people who are undergoing ethnic cleansing and mass-starvation. It really reassured me that George Bush's rational for the invasion of Iraq - the humanitarian part anyway - was on the up and up.

I haven't heard much of it since - but it's been a really busy month for news, so I expect I'll hear some good news about it any day now.
posted by troutfishing at 8:04 AM on July 20, 2004


"facts that have no evidence to support them"

ALSO KNOWN AS LIES.

God, don't you just love doublespeak?

And quonsar, that was fucking beautiful.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:08 AM on July 20, 2004


I think you need to give war supporters a little more credit than to suppose that they were particularly attentive to Bush and Blair, either before or after the fact of the invasion.

Most of us were content that enemies of America (excepting those not content to confine their emnity to their local dirt farms, or hipster cafes, as the case may be), ought, on that basis alone, be dispatched when and where possible.

That we can't dispatch North Korea as easily, or that some of our notional allies (like the Saudis) are in some respects just as odious as Saddam, simply doesn't matter -- one can't make the perfect the enemy of the good.

In my view, a view I know to be shared by many pro-war people, Bush and Blair are subject to criticism not for the war itself (an obvious good), but for the conduct of the post-war occupation, which was badly conceived and executed. However, I continue to think that we're still far ahead, in long-term military terms, from where we were before the invasion was launched -- if for no other reason than we showed the willingness and ability to invade where we deemed it necessary.
posted by MattD at 8:15 AM on July 20, 2004


Consider the Human Rights Watch estimate mentioned by Pendevil.

Here's the quote from the Human Rights Watch site:
“By conservative estimates, at least 290,000 people are missing in Iraq, and the answer to their whereabouts likely lies in these graves,” said Bouckaert. “The U.S.-led coalition must take the lead, not only in securing gravesites, but quickly communicating its commitment to exhume and identify the remains.”

SO they were basing their estimates on what was in the mass graves. I wouldn't doubt it if they change their estimates after this new finding.
posted by destro at 8:15 AM on July 20, 2004


God, don't you just love doublespeak?

For the record, I had intended to put "facts" in quotes, but they got lost in the (over)editing of the comment.

posted by jpoulos at 8:24 AM on July 20, 2004


destro, Human Rights Watch made those estimates long before the war (in fact, either just before or during the early part of the war, they complained when the Bush administration cited their reports). I don't read Bouckaert's statement the way you do -- I believe he's saying that they believe 300K people are missing, and that the answers to their whereabouts may (or may not) be found in mass graves.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:26 AM on July 20, 2004


In my view, a view I know to be shared by many pro-war people, Bush and Blair are subject to criticism not for the war itself

they have a word for that. "denial".
posted by mr.marx at 8:35 AM on July 20, 2004


pardonyou? is right there ... here is a 1993 HRW report on the 1988 "Anfal Campaign," in which it is estimated that Hussein had more than 100,000 Kurds killed in a seven-month period alone. the 290,000 figure has nothing to do with the mass graves.

HRW is an excellent source for those who want to know about the activities of the world's murderous dictators, both those supported by the US administration and the other three.
posted by louigi at 8:40 AM on July 20, 2004


I acknowledge freely I've been lied to. I acknowledge freely that my support of the war was mistaken. Had I known then what I know now, I would not have supported the war.

What do you know now that you didn't know then? Name a single "lie".

Hussein had weapons of mass destruction? Check.

Hussein was trying to buy uranium in Niger? Check.

Hussein supported and harbored terrorists? Check.

Hussein connected to Al-qaeda? Check.

Hussein planned terrorist attacks on the United States? Check.

Chickity Check.
posted by hama7 at 8:46 AM on July 20, 2004


This is deeply depressing. As much as I objected to the way the case for war was made, and the barefaced lying about WMD and the poor planning for Iraq's reconstruction, I did keep thinking, "At least Saddam is gone. At least something good came out of this mess. It's not a completely senseless war like Vietnam." And now...? If it does turn out that the U.S. killed more Iraqis than Saddam would have done throughout his career, then there is no justification at all for this war. I know Saddam is still a sociopathic killer and it's unquestionably good that he's gone, but perhaps the price of his removal was too high.

But I feel sickened when I try to count the cost. Who am I to say what's too high a price to pay for the freedom of a country? How can I sit here and try to count the dead and the maimed and the grieving who are half a world removed from me as though they were so many chips in a poker game, and sum it up as worth the wager?

I don't think we who are not citizens of Iraq have any right to declare this war a success or a failure. But what we can do is demand an accounting from the ones who waged this war. What was this all about? What was the real agenda for this war? Was it really just about oil? Just how many lies were we fed and what is really the truth? Bush and his team must be made to account for what they have done.
posted by orange swan at 8:52 AM on July 20, 2004


What's a lie ? How can we ever know the truth about anything ?

What, exactly, is the meaning of the word "is" ?

Your parsing of the "truth" is growing thin indeed, hama .
posted by troutfishing at 8:52 AM on July 20, 2004


Remind me to call hama7 the next time we need to bring Tinkerbell back to life.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:58 AM on July 20, 2004


Saddam still ordered Kuwaiti babies to be pulled from incubators, though? That's still true, yeah?
posted by Blue Stone at 8:59 AM on July 20, 2004


I know Saddam is still a sociopathic killer and it's unquestionably good that he's gone, but perhaps the price of his removal was too high.

The citrus waterfowl hits it right on the head. There were other ways to remove him that would've done less damage, plus Al Sadr and his crew are gaining power and I don't like them anymore than I liked Saddam.

But I feel sickened when I try to count the cost.

That's worrisome. You may be coming down with sanity.

It's a natural response to feel a little queasy and cold-number crunching of violent death. Those numbers represent actual human beings, after all. But it's gotta be done.
posted by jonmc at 8:59 AM on July 20, 2004


Hussein had weapons of mass destruction?

Nobody seems to know where those shells came from. Un-check.

Hussein was trying to buy uranium in Niger?

Still speculation. Un-check.

Hussein supported and harbored terrorists?

There is still no solid evidence of the trumpeted Iraq-al Qaida link. Hussein's lack of movement against the training camps is explained when one realizes that those camps were in a part of the country NOT UNDER HIS CONTROL since the Gulf War - a fact conveniently not mentioned. The other 'evidence' has yet to be authenticated. Un-check.

Hussein planned terrorist attacks on the United States?

Apparently the US never got Putin's supposed message. Un-check.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:03 AM on July 20, 2004


Most of us were content that enemies of America (excepting those not content to confine their emnity to their local dirt farms, or hipster cafes, as the case may be), ought, on that basis alone, be dispatched when and where possible.

"Dispatched"?!? Jesus god. You're not earning any "credit" here.
posted by rushmc at 9:06 AM on July 20, 2004


What do you know now that you didn't know then? Name a single "lie".

hama7, unlike troutfishing, I think that's a legitimate question, and I respect your position on each of those issues (and share many of them). For me, what I believe to have been a lie was the demonstrated certainty of Hussein's WMD program. It's one thing to have simply been wrong (certainly the Clinton administration and most other nations were under the impression he had a legitimate program). It's another to have deliberately pumped up tenuous claims, while simultaneously ignoring (or supressing) the ample doubts that existed. And even that might not have forced me to conclude the entire exercise was a mistake, but the lack of foresight and poor execution of post-war Iraq just makes the entire operation look amateurish. And amateurish is a problem when people are being killed. Add to that our lessened moral authority in the world, and the balance has tipped for me.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:10 AM on July 20, 2004


Your point is well taken that:
5,000 graves != Saddam only killed 5,000 people

And you're right that HRW did estimate that number prior to this war (but after the Gulf War strangely enough).

But to kill 290,000 people, you're going to have some bodies lying around. It's gonna be hard to hide 285,000 extra bodies. Even if they burned them, there would be some evidence. Somebody would know about it.
posted by destro at 9:10 AM on July 20, 2004


hama7.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:17 AM on July 20, 2004


soooo... of those 5,000 dead... how many do you suppose were pro-US insurgents that were mowed down after we flaked on a deal to back a rebellion? You suppose any of them were sarvation deaths from those UN sanctions? How about the kurds killed with chemical weapons we handed to saddam?....

just wondering....
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 9:49 AM on July 20, 2004


The official accounts of the war are starting to sound more and more like Enron's annual reports in the late years.

Not that this should come as a surprise to anyone.
posted by clevershark at 10:20 AM on July 20, 2004


No, this is hama7.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:24 AM on July 20, 2004


how many do you suppose were pro-US insurgents that were mowed down after we flaked on a deal to back a rebellion? You suppose any of them were sarvation deaths from those UN sanctions? How about the kurds killed with chemical weapons we handed to saddam?

...or casualties of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war.

Bush and Blair are subject to criticism not for the war itself (an obvious good), but for the conduct of the post-war occupation, which was badly conceived and executed.

Since there are accounts that the resistance and insurgency were part of a rope-a-dope strategy Iraq adopted before the invasion, I'm not sure you can say the war is over. And, besides the removal of Saddam, how is the war an obvious good? We're still a long way away from seeing a free, better Iraq, if it ever gets there.

I continue to think that we're still far ahead, in long-term military terms, from where we were before the invasion was launched -- if for no other reason than we showed the willingness and ability to invade where we deemed it necessary.

There are a couple of problems with this. We're in very bad shape, in military terms, now and in the short- to medium term. Our military options are very limited if trouble breaks out with China, Iran, North Korea, or elsewhere. We have our hands full with Iraq's weakened army, so we aren't as intimidating to countries with better militaries, and the insurgents have demonstrated how to fight us to a standstill. And we deemed it necessary to attack Iraq based on justifications that are being increasingly shown to be false in the case of Iraq, and seem to be much more applicable to Iran or North Korea than to Iraq. Our loss of credibility and arrogance toward our allies will make it more difficult for us to get help against legitimate enemies in the future.


they say this cat Pol Pot's a bad mother--Hush your mouth! </ShaftFilter>
posted by kirkaracha at 10:32 AM on July 20, 2004


First of all let me remind everyone that this is not the first time a war was justified on what turned out to be a spurious claim (link, ironically to a Daniel Perle article).

Secondly before we all collectively completely lose all sanity: There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Saddam was a mass murderer. He is directly and indirectly responsible for literally thousands of deaths. His regime was born through the murder of 7.000 Iraqi Communist Party cadres and went on with the liquidation of the Ba'ath party's left wing. He slaughtered the Kurds mercilessly and, more importantly, he was responsible for the 1,000,000 dead of the Iran-Iraq war.

But there is an important point that one should always remember: he was aided and abetted by the US (and the UK, France, Germany etc.) throughout his most horrible massacres.- indeed it can be argued that without the US Hussein would not have managed to become dictator of Iraq. If you can't be bothered to read it, the flash animated story is informative enough.

More importantly it is known that Iraq was aided by the US to wage war on Iran and that, immediately after the Anfal campaign war crimes, the US government shot down a senate resolution imposing sanctions on Iraq... Then there is the direct involvement of the US in Iraqi battle planning in cases where there was verified use of chemical weapons...

So lets be clear about this: during the period when Saddam Hussein was at his most murderous, he was supported by Western countries - with the US prominent among them. So much for the moral high ground...

After the failed Shiite and Kurdish uprisings, it can be said that for the past decade the death toll of the Hussein regime was significantly smaller because 1. The sanctions resulted in a population too exhausted to create too many problems and 2. Because there weren't that many opposition figures left alive in Iraq anyway. Thus, yes, the US invasion and occupation of Iraq has led to a significant rise of civilan casualties, that unfortunately doesn't seem to have an end in sight... Predictably so, one could argue.

So if Saddam was a murderous mafia don, the US was both the crooked politician who created him and covered up for him and the gun dealer who sold him his weapons.
posted by talos at 10:39 AM on July 20, 2004


"It's one thing to have simply been wrong (certainly the Clinton administration and most other nations were under the impression he had a legitimate program). It's another to have deliberately pumped up tenuous claims, while simultaneously ignoring (or supressing) the ample doubts that existed." - Pardonyou, you must be referring here to the "Office of Special Plans" (AKA "The Lie factory") that was running out of the White House :

Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest wrote about this last December, and it appeared in the Jan. 2004 Mother Jones edition - The Lie factory.

"Until now, the story of how the Bush administration produced its wildly exaggerated estimates of the threat posed by Iraq has never been revealed in full. But, for the first time, a detailed investigation by Mother Jones, based on dozens of interviews‚ -- some on the record, some with officials who insisted on anonymity‚ -- exposes the workings of a secret Pentagon intelligence unit and of the Defense Department's war-planning task force, the Office of Special Plans. It's the story of a close-knit team of ideologues who spent a decade or more hammering out plans for an attack on Iraq and who used the events of September 11, 2001, to set it into motion."
posted by troutfishing at 10:41 AM on July 20, 2004


Oh, groovy !

The Disinfopedia has a section on The Lie Factory (AKA The Office of Special Plans, now chnaged back to it's original name, "The Northern Gulf Affairs Office")

""Air Force Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski....wrote recently. 'If one is seeking the answers to why peculiar bits of 'intelligence' found sanctity in a presidential speech, or why the post-Saddam occupation has been distinguished by confusion and false steps, one need look no further than the process inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense.' She described the activities of Rumsfeld's Office of Special Plans as, 'A subversion of constitutional limits on executive power and a co-optation through deceit of a large segment of the Congress.'.... Julian Borger, in his July 17, 2003 article "The spies who pushed for war," published by the Guardian/UK, writes that Democratic congressman David Obey said concerning the OSP: "'The office was charged with collecting, vetting and disseminating intelligence completely outside of the normal intelligence apparatus. In fact, it appears that information collected by this office was in some instances not even shared with established intelligence agencies and in numerous instances was passed on to the National Security Council and the president without having been vetted with anyone other than political appointees'." [5]

On March 9, 2004, Los Angeles Times' staff reporter Greg Miller writes that during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, George J. Tenet, Director of the CIA, revealed that "A special intelligence unit at the Pentagon provided private prewar briefings to senior White House officials on alleged ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda without the knowledge of [the] CIA Director "


pardonyou - I'm just trying to flesh out your incisive point.
posted by troutfishing at 10:48 AM on July 20, 2004


For me, what I believe to have been a lie was the demonstrated certainty of Hussein's WMD program.

Well, we know Hussein had weapons because he used them several times, he refused to abide by the promises he made after his Gulf War surrender: to dismantle and document the destruction of his weapons program. He refused to cooperate with the (bumbling, pointless) U.N. weapons inspectors, and then inexplicably kicked them out of his country.

We also know about the U.S. documentation of Hussein's weapons program, and Hussein's blatant failure to disarm. From the National Threat Initiative, we know about Hussein's nuclear, biological, chemical, and missile programs. We know that there have been weapons recovered which are sufficient to kill half-a-million people.

Yet we are supposed to believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that none of this exists? ? That he just invited Ansar Al-Islam into Iraq for tea?

I must respectfully disagree.
posted by hama7 at 10:59 AM on July 20, 2004


Does the above sentence which is the first link’s last sentence pancake its first statement; Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue,

A Downing Street spokesman said: 'While experts may disagree on the exact figures, human rights groups, governments and politicians across the world have no doubt that Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of his own people and their remains are buried in sites throughout Iraq.'.

The article starts off with the evidence, 5,000. Then pancakes itself be the ending statement; "The World has "no doubt that Saddam killed hundreds of thousands."
posted by thomcatspike at 11:09 AM on July 20, 2004


Ignore my above comment, bad editing.
Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue,

A Downing Street spokesman said: 'While experts may disagree on the exact figures, human rights groups, governments and politicians across the world have no doubt that Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of his own people and their remains are buried in sites throughout Iraq.'.

The article starts off with the evidence, 5,000 found. Then pancakes itself be the ending statement; "The World has no doubt that Saddam killed hundreds of thousands."
posted by thomcatspike at 11:13 AM on July 20, 2004


Am I reading this correctly
"hundreds of thousands" = ?00,000
posted by thomcatspike at 11:15 AM on July 20, 2004


hama7: If Hussein had WMDs and failed to disarm, then

a. Where are the weapons?
b. Why didn't he use them against the US?

The Al Ansar-related article posted was brilliant enough to suggest (back in Jan 2003 when the already hopelessly dated piece was published):
Some Bush administration and PUK officials claim that Ansar has established chemical weapons facilities in Iraqi Kurdistan. Reports allege that Baghdad helped to smuggle these weapons from Afghanistan and that Ansar has tested substances such as cyanide gas and the poison Ricin.

Which was false.

Also note the language used:
"Bush administration and PUK officials have also speculated that Ansar may be working with Saddam through a man named Abu Wa'il, reportedly an al-Qaeda operative on Saddam's payroll. Kurdish explosives experts also claim that TNT seized from Ansar was produced by the Iraqi military, and that arms are sent to the group from areas controlled by Saddam. Iraqi officials deny all such ties, yet Saddam clearly profits from Ansar's activities, which keep Kurdish opposition forces tied up on the border and away from Saddam."
The article also mentions that:
Currently, Kurdish and international sources are accumulating evidence they say could soon present a clearer picture of Saddam's cooperation with al-Qaeda.
Apparently "soon" means something different for these sources than for regular people. Note also that the leader of Al-Ansar was exiled by Saddam and vehemently denied any ties with him from the beginning...

As for the "weapons recovered", please...:
Multinational forces in Iraq said on Friday that more than a dozen missile warheads said to contain mustard gas or sarin have tested negative for chemical agents.
posted by talos at 11:37 AM on July 20, 2004


He refused to cooperate with the (bumbling, pointless) U.N. weapons inspectors, and then inexplicably kicked them out of his country.

Of course, it now turns out that they were far less bumbling and pointless at inspecting for weapons than the adminstration was at justifying a war and dealing with its aftermath. Yet another group owed an apology.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:38 AM on July 20, 2004


Kevin Drum @ Political Animal :

I suppose the politically correct stance is that murder is murder, and quibbling over numbers doesn't change the fact that Saddam was a monster. Which is true enough.

But the fact is that, yes, it does matter, in at least two ways. First, it matters because part of the humanitarian case against Saddam was that he was not merely a garden variety nasty dictator, he was arguably the #1 nastiest dictator on the planet. If he wasn't, it does weaken the emotional case for intervention, just as very high numbers strengthen the case for intervention in the proto-genocide currently taking place in Darfur.

Second, and perhaps more important, is the question of whether Tony Blair (and apparently the U.S. government as well) flatly lied about this. This was not a case of intelligence estimates, after all, it was a categorical statement that 400,000 bodies had actually been found by actual troops digging up actual graves. How could he have been off by a factor of 80x?

Needless to say, this wouldn't matter if it were the only exaggeration surrounding the war. But it's not. There was no WMD, no collaboration with al-Qaeda, no 45-minute missiles, no mobile bioweapons labs, no regional military threat, and now it turns out that even the humanitarian case wasn't as clear cut as they suggested.

Is there anything left that these guys told the truth about?

posted by y2karl at 11:40 AM on July 20, 2004


The article starts off with the evidence, 5,000 found. Then pancakes itself be the ending statement; "The World has no doubt that Saddam killed hundreds of thousands."


thom, i read that as throughout his whole career as a third-rate dictator...from taking power until now, including the Kurd stuff, war with Iran, Gulf War 1, etc....and still, why are there only 5,000 bodies found in mass graves? We've been in control of Iraq for quite a while now, and have supposedly been searching for all sorts of things (wmds, wmd programs, wmd program-related-activity, evidence of atrocities for the court case against Saddam, eyewitnesses like in hama's pics, etc ....).

Why haven't there been more mass graves and bodies found? It doesn't add up. (Pol Pot's killing fields and buildings stuffed with skulls and bones were all found, no? Hitler's camps and assorted other atrocities were all accounted for, no? As we speak, there's genocide going on in the Sudan, and evidence is there, no?)
posted by amberglow at 11:42 AM on July 20, 2004


a. Where are the weapons?

Are you serious? Hidden in Iraq or in Syria. Just because they have not been found, doesn't mean they never existed. I can't find my car keys. Why, they must never have existed!

b. Why didn't he use them against the US?

He knew he would lose much more quickly and humiliatingly, if that's possible, and it would have been a tactical mistake. The Hussein troops might have refused to use them even under direct orders. There are many possible scenarios. Don't think the coalition forces weren't prepared, however. The South Korean government alone sent hundreds of tons of chemical protection suits and gas masks in preparation for such an attack.

The Iraq -- Al Qaeda Connections.
posted by hama7 at 11:53 AM on July 20, 2004


There are many possible scenarios.

Saddam's Imps From Hell With Their Magic Evil Pixie Dust disappearing with all the evidence, for one.
posted by y2karl at 12:11 PM on July 20, 2004


He knew he would lose much more quickly and humiliatingly, if that's possible

I don't think it is...
posted by talos at 12:18 PM on July 20, 2004


Metafilter: Keep your pathetic, propoganda-soaked cranium above the effluent.
posted by brownpau at 1:56 PM on July 20, 2004


Just because they have not been found, doesn't mean they never existed. I can't find my car keys. Why, they must never have existed!

It's kind of like when you're stoned, and you're driving around and can't find the Blockbuster... you know it's fucking around here somewhere... hey, White Castle! Aw-w-w-w-some!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:00 PM on July 20, 2004


Does the above sentence which is the first link’s last sentence pancake its first statement
Should have gone with my first comment with a corrected edition.
thom, i read that as throughout his whole career as a third-rate dictator
Thank you for clarifying that for me. The more than 5,000? Remember last summer a large cache of dead bodies being found stored in warehouses. After closer examination, they were the dead from the Iraq Iran War. So these reports and #s will be wrong for some time until historians sort it out.

Will this look bad for human right groups that claim higher numbers in Iraq when making reports in other countries?

As for the "weapons recovered", please...:
Iraqi Missile Engines Found in Netherlands, UN Inspectors Say
posted by thomcatspike at 2:27 PM on July 20, 2004


Just because they have not been found, doesn't mean they never existed. I can't find my car keys. Why, they must never have existed!

But we have evidence that they must once have existed as you have been seen driving your car and you admit yourself that you had them just this morning.

Whereas with the WMD, there's no evidence that they ever existed. Not to mention the fact that there would have been many more people who were in the know - the scientists and military types who worked to produce them. They could become millionaires by coming forward with their information. Why hasn't even one person done so?

Hama, you and my cousin J. are the only two people I can think of who still seem to honestly believe that there are WMD in Iraq. She also admires Dubya. And Hama, she's single.
posted by orange swan at 5:03 PM on July 20, 2004


NO! THEY'LL BREED!
posted by quonsar at 5:21 PM on July 20, 2004


This thread is a great demonstration of why the ordinary man shouldn't get involved in politics. Or, perhaps, a demonstration why they should, for entertainment purposes only.
posted by wackybrit at 5:36 PM on July 20, 2004 [1 favorite]


"NO! THEY'LL BREED!"

Only if you give them easy-to-follow instructions.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:47 PM on July 20, 2004


She also admires Dubya. And Hama, she's single.

One struggles to understand this conundrum...
posted by rushmc at 7:12 PM on July 20, 2004


NO! THEY'LL BREED!

Well, at least he'll be eaten afterwards. Sometimes that silver lining is pretty easy to spot.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:35 PM on July 20, 2004


You mean people.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:34 PM on July 20, 2004


"Whereas with the WMD, there's no evidence that they ever existed."

What? We lost our bill-of-sale? Maybe Rummy has a copy somewhere.
posted by bashos_frog at 1:43 AM on July 21, 2004


Whereas with the WMD, there's no evidence that they ever existed.

They were used on Iraqis and Kurds, et cetera.

She also admires Dubya. And Hama, she's single.

She obviously doesn't read MetaFilter, or believe in magically disappearing weapons. A fine, discerning woman.
posted by hama7 at 12:45 PM on July 21, 2004


there's no evidence of nuclear waepons whatsoever.

chemical weapons - well, he did use them on the Kurds - and I think hama7 meant to say "Iranians" (although I don't like to help out his flawed logic) - chemical weapons we sold him.

..but how long ago was that? any supplies from then will have deteriorated beyond use. Of course he had no means of delivering them to any target outside a 50 mile radius.

Also, Saddam might have destroyed some of it to comply with the inspections, which is why most Democrats were in favor of continuing the inspections - since they were working.
posted by destro at 6:10 PM on July 21, 2004


A U.S. military official Wednesday denied a report of Iraqi missiles carrying nuclear warheads being found in a concrete trench northwest of Baghdad. -The WT
posted by john at 7:21 PM on July 22, 2004


there's been a lot of that going around, john...this kinda says it all:
Apparently, we didn't find the nukes we were supposed to have found in Iraq.

Or something.

Here's an idea - STOP REPORTING THAT THEY FOUND SHIT IN IRAQ BEFORE YOU CAN CONFIRM THE STORY.

I think we're at around the 20th or 30th time this has happened. At this point, I think we've managed to have not found more WMD in news reports than we were supposed to have discovered there in the first place.

posted by amberglow at 7:41 PM on July 22, 2004


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