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March 15, 2006 10:03 PM   Subscribe

Quotes from pundits during the beginning and early stages of the Iraq War. I love the Joe Scarborough rant where he calls Scott Ritter the "former chief U.N. weapons inspector who played chief stooge for Saddam Hussein...".
posted by DougieZero1982 (92 comments total)

 
"Why We Didn't Remove Saddam" -- George H. W. Bush and Brent Skowcroft in Time, 3/2/1998:
We were disappointed that Saddam's defeat did not break his hold on power, as many of our Arab allies had predicted and we had come to expect. President Bush repeatedly declared that the fate of Saddam Hussein was up to the Iraqi people. Occasionally, he indicated that removal of Saddam would be welcome, but for very practical reasons there was never a promise to aid an uprising. While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state. We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf. Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in "mission creep," and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different -- and perhaps barren -- outcome.
posted by gum at 10:13 PM on March 15, 2006


I find it a little creepy that it really appears that Bush's opponents are actually happy that Iraq is an enormously expensive disaster that has cost tens of thousands of lives.

It just seems a lot like laughing at a doctor who thought your cancer was in remission, only to find out that you're now going to die within a matter of hours, because you don't like the doctor. Do we really hate them so much that we're glad that they were wrong when they thought that the Iraq war wasn't a complete disaster? (For the record, I have thought that it would be a disaster all along, and I think its supporters have been seriously deluded from the beginning)

When I read the optimistic visions of the Iraq war, it just makes me feel sick, especially when I consider that our only real alternative to Bush in the last election didn't seem to mind that we started the war, and actually proposed somehow getting 40,000 more troops to send there. I mean, war is hell. Why would anyone want to go to hell intentionally? (aside from Bonn Scott, who apparently thought hell was "party time")
posted by JekPorkins at 10:23 PM on March 15, 2006


I find it a little creepy that it really appears that Bush's opponents are actually happy that Iraq is an enormously expensive disaster that has cost tens of thousands of lives.
No, they're just happy that some people are admitting it. Shouting from the rooftops that this was an abysmal clusterfuck of a bad idea is more than gloating -- it's an attempt to keep it from happening again, and again, and again. The people in charge of this disaster were warned of what would happen time and time again. They ignored it.

You might as well say that the doctor is 'gloating' about your cancer after you ignored his warnings and kept smoking three packs a day.
posted by verb at 10:41 PM on March 15, 2006


I find it a little creepy that it really appears that Bush's opponents are actually happy that Iraq is an enormously expensive disaster that has cost tens of thousands of lives.

Where do you get that? Really, who is happy? There's none of it in this article. There's none of it on the lefty sites I hang out on.

The only place I see that is on righty sites, where it is something bandied about by dishonest fucks as a way to avoid taking any responsibility for how badly they fucked up.

So really, where do you see it?
posted by teece at 10:46 PM on March 15, 2006


"I find it a little creepy that it really appears that Bush's opponents are actually happy that Iraq is an enormously expensive disaster that has cost tens of thousands of lives."

I find it funny that 'happy' is the word proferred when any attention is called to it. Where exactly is the joy?
posted by Busithoth at 10:48 PM on March 15, 2006


I'm reminded how the only television that made any sense in its coverage of the Iraq War was The Daily Show.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:51 PM on March 15, 2006


Every time I hear Republicans speak, I just sing to myself:

Here's a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry, be happy


Of course, whistling and vocalizing when you're in the middle of a conversation with someone who is trying to explain to you that we won the war in Vietnam, but the communist media lied to the American public may sound weird, but it works!
posted by sequential at 10:57 PM on March 15, 2006


I'm reminded how the only television that made any sense in its coverage of the Iraq War was The Daily Show.

I'm of course not referring to the jokes that were made, rather the skepticism they displayed amidst a sea of naive, shallow "commentary" the rest of the media offered when a large portion (a majority?) of the population knew this going to be more complex and problematic than advertised.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:58 PM on March 15, 2006


Man, those O'Reilly quotes are gold. He didn't think it would take a week to beat Iraq, but hours.
posted by mathowie at 11:03 PM on March 15, 2006


The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster.
T.E. Lawrence, 1920
posted by kirkaracha at 11:11 PM on March 15, 2006


Good to see that the life-time supply of petards created in the leadup to Iraq are being dusted off ready for hoisting.
posted by dangerousdan at 11:12 PM on March 15, 2006


President to Restate U.S. Preventive War Doctrine
posted by homunculus at 11:14 PM on March 15, 2006


"We had controversial wars that divided the country. This war united the country and brought the military back."
(Newsweek's Howard Fineman--MSNBC, 5/7/03)
This is an honest to goodness question: what was he talking about when he said "brought the military back"? Did he really just editorialize that part or is there some basis for truth in the story, even if the source was turned out to be untrue?
posted by sequential at 11:20 PM on March 15, 2006


To play devil's advocate just a bit--many of these quotes are about the initial invasion, not necesarily the aftermath of rebuilding and maintianing order. While I think the entire war to be a mistake of epic proportions, the biggest problem lied/lies in predicting the respose of the Iraqi people, that they would somehow welcome the American troops. This was just blind faith and that attitude, for some odd reason, continues to this day amogst the warhawks.

But the initial "shock and awe" blitzkrieg, in purely military terms, was in fact relatively short-lived.
posted by zardoz at 11:24 PM on March 15, 2006


...and 3 years from now we may look back and laugh at the quotes of today.
posted by b_thinky at 11:25 PM on March 15, 2006


homunculus, I wonder if this terror strategy has anything to do with mid-term elections and this handy graph.
...and 3 years from now we may look back and laugh at the quotes of today.
Not as likely. We're already laughing at the people making these statements today. Heck, I was laughing at Rice earlier in the day talking about Iran. If you laughed in 2003, you were a terrorist.
posted by sequential at 11:28 PM on March 15, 2006


Are you seeing it yet, teece?
posted by JekPorkins at 11:36 PM on March 15, 2006


Jek,

You inadvrertently point to Bush's greatest weakness when you somehow try to turn this into a thread about his opponent. The man cannot take responsibility and his supporters are desperate to make sure he never has to bear it. The ultimate potential disaster: decisions made by one who never wants to take responsibility for failure. Psycholgically, decisions should never be made by persons who show a capability to dissasociate from the results of their actions.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:52 PM on March 15, 2006


Great link. Thank you for posting this, DougieZero. JekPorkins, you're right - war is no laughing matter, but you're misattributing the good humor. People are lauging at the cocksureness and arrogance of these commentators, not at the state of the war in iraq. I think you can seperate the two. I mean, this is absolute gold - particularly if you're familiar with Fred Barnes style:

"The war was the hard part. The hard part was putting together a coalition, getting 300,000 troops over there and all their equipment and winning. And it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but it is not as hard as winning a war."
(Fox News Channel's Fred Barnes, 4/10/03)

(emphasis mine)
posted by jba at 11:55 PM on March 15, 2006


Zardoz: Just because you can do one thing really well doesn't mean that it is the most important thing to do. Shock and Awe was never, ever going to solve the problem. Indeed its application was the problem to begin with. Critiques by those who argue that "the war was the right idea, but Bush was incompetent" utterly ignore the fact that no amount of shock and awe could ever do what they set out to do.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:58 PM on March 15, 2006


this is a good post but I have a problem with the link, no ofense for the poster -- it is very misleading because, frankly, it's no surprise that O'Reilly, Scarborough and the other GOP cheerleaders said very dumb and very wrong things -- they were doing the job they're being handsomely paid for, they're PR men.

the problem is that the actual "liberal media" has been at best stenographic in its approach to the entire post-911 coverage. to single out the known shills (I mean, Dobbs? Hitchens? is that surprising?) is misleading. the entire American media did a horrible job (53% of Americans still think wmds have been found -- you can't blame a relatively small channel like Fox "News" for that).


Where do you get that? Really, who is happy?

Halliburton, Blackwater Inc, Lockheed Martin, Aegis, Northrop Grumman, Qualcomm, Loral Satellite... one could go on and on. lots of people are very very happy because of Bush's disaster. they made billions and billions of dollars -- money that, interestingly enough, could have been wasted on crazy spending such as health insurance and education for Americans (one does not want to mention helping the poor because that would be class warfare, liberal shrillness and a big no-no).

but then, those who point out such things, are the ones accused (by the usual suspects) of, what else, being anti-American
posted by matteo at 3:18 AM on March 16, 2006


and by the way those who are delusional enough to think that the Iraq fiasco has calmed down the attack dogs a bit, is, well deluded: a US Senator (Allard) has just stated that Sen Feingold is "siding with terrorists" because, shit, he thinks that the US Constitution, maybe, kinda gives Congress the power to, like, hold the Executive accountable for breaking the law.

if things have changed so much after the fiasco, I must have missed the outrage on the mainstream "liberal media" for that shameful, McCarthyite attack.
posted by matteo at 3:26 AM on March 16, 2006


More to the point, we on the left never questioned that the actual military conquest would be fairly quick and painless (for the US and her allies anyway). From well before the war started we warned that the occupationa and aftermath would be the hard part.

The pro-war faction took our doubts about the long term difficulties and tried to present them as if we were expressing doubt in the possibility of quickly defeating the Iraqi army, but that was purely a bit of pro-war propaganda. I can't speak for all the people who opposed the war, of course, and there are probably some people who did predict that the initial military phase would be unwinnable; but these people were not the leaders of the anti-war movement, nor its majority.

We knew that the occupation would be long, hard, and costly. Remember how we were scolded for even speculating that the war might cost hundreds of billions? Try these choice quotes on the subject:

“Well, the reconstruction costs remain a very -- an issue for the future. And Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, is a rather wealthy country. Iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the Iraqi people. And so there are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction.” -- Ari Fleischer 2/18/2003 That was when Ari was the White House Press Secretary, so this was the *official* White House line. Boy, that worked out well, didn't it? But us horrible, evil, anti-war types who suggested that maybe, just maybe, the picture wasn't so rosy, well, we were obviously rooting for Saddam.

I am not happy that the war was a disaster, I wish that it had not been. What I am is furious that after this massive demonstration that we were right, and they were wrong, they still continue to act as if we were just a bunch of dirty hipies who didn't understand the way the world worked. That we were just overwhelmed by our fanatic hatred of Bush and were unable to see how easy and cheap this war would really be. An "I told you so, but you wouldn't listen" is not being happy about the disaster, it is not encouraging our enemies, it is an attempt to make sure that the same sort of mistake does not happen again. Bush and his devotees want to invade Iran next, the time for reflecting on how wrong they were about Iraq, and using that to predict that, gee you think maybe they'll be wrong about Iran too, is now. Not that Bush can invade Iran, the army is spent; its going to take years of rebuilding just to re-equip the army, and that's ignoring the human side of how poorly the army is doing these days. And that isn't us dirty hippies fault, that's the direct and presonal fault of George W. Bush and his cronies.
posted by sotonohito at 3:36 AM on March 16, 2006


"I find it a little creepy that it really appears that Bush's opponents are actually happy that Iraq is an enormously expensive disaster that has cost tens of thousands of lives."

Yup, that's me. I do a little dance for joy every time I add a little skull to represent American military deaths and Iraqi civilian deaths (many of them children) to the Iraq Body Count Visual Aid.

Obviously some of the more wingnutty types can't distinguish between righteous indignation from happiness. Must be some form of evangelical brainwashing.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 3:43 AM on March 16, 2006


Maybe we were all numb post-9/11.

The debates all seem foggy and seem forgotten. It's like we all went to the most extreme exaggerations and now it's slowly being whittled away and what were left with is nothing that was even close.

I feel like we were drunk and shouldn't have been allowed to drive until we sobered up.

/anyone remember the chemical crop dusters?
posted by DougieZero1982 at 4:12 AM on March 16, 2006


To play devil's advocate just a bit--many of these quotes are about the initial invasion, not necesarily the aftermath of rebuilding and maintianing order.

I had that initial thought too, but then it occurred to me that dividing the expedition up into these two phases is allowing them (these idiot pundits) to get away with reframing the story. The re-establishment of order (and setting up of democracy) should not be distinguished from the initial "shock and awe" phase. It's all part and parcel of what we were sold. Allowing them to say, we won the war in less than a month, while losing thousands of soldiers in the second phase is dihonest. This thing isn't going to be over until some semblance of a stable government is set up, or else the US fucks off and leaves the Iraqis to their seemingly inevitable civil war..
posted by psmealey at 4:13 AM on March 16, 2006


Maybe we were all numb post-9/11.

I don't buy that. As a downtown Manhattan resident on 9/11 and for the year following, I fully supported the invasion of Afghanistan. A year later (or even later in 2002, when the drum for war in Iraq was starting to be beaten), I was just as vocal about us NOT getting involved in Iraq. There was no reason to and even then, the casus belli didn't seem clear or consistent with what the mission seemed to be (root out Al Queda, keep them from reorganizing and intiate a foreign policy to prevent them from getting a foothold as they had in the Sudan and Afghanistan), and most of my friends and close associates felt exactly the same way.

I think it's dangerous to suggest that we were all kind of led down the garden path, when more than a few of us knew that going to war in Iraq was wrong from the very beginning.
posted by psmealey at 4:18 AM on March 16, 2006


it really appears that Bush's opponents are actually happy that Iraq is an enormously expensive disaster that has cost tens of thousands of lives

No more happy than a father who's child has just stuck his finger in the light socket after being told not to do that. You hope maybe they'll learn this time just so you don't have to keep telling them how things really work in the grown-up world. Maybe, possibly it will finally "click" and you won't have to follow them around any more. Of course, there's always the chance you got a retarded child. In that case, you'll have to keep parenting their mistakes for the rest of their lives.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:35 AM on March 16, 2006


The Scarborough quotes are especially funny to me because I remember distinctly how in the first few weeks after the war started Scarborough had a "gimmick" on his show where he would play clips of "Hollywood Elites" (Garofalo, Michael Moore, Sarandon, etc.) from a few weeks earlier saying how they think the war will be a disaster. Oh, those silly, silly people, right?

I find it a little creepy that it really appears that Bush's opponents are actually happy that Iraq is an enormously expensive disaster that has cost tens of thousands of lives.

You know what's weird, JekPorkins? I don't even get angry at statements like that anymore. At this point I'm just kind of amazed that after three years you still can pretend you actually believe that. If you really enjoy saying it, by all means keep it up but just as a friendly warning I figure you've got maybe another six months of it left before most people just outright laugh at it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:13 AM on March 16, 2006


Here's an enlightening book about the Iraq War that's been making the rounds on some of the talkshows : Cobra II : The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq by Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor. The way they portray it, the whole mission was bungled by Rumsfeld who didn't send enough troops to keep the peace once Saddam fell. That led to a security vacuum, which led to the rise of the insurgency. They also claim that Rumsfeld was so incapable of seeing beyond his own flawed plan that he wouldn't even believe his own generals on the ground about the resistance movement. If you want to read about what went wrong in the early days of the war, read this.
posted by crunchland at 5:34 AM on March 16, 2006


An interesting counterpoint to this FAIR article is an examination of who got it right:

Glenn Greenwald's article "Whose judgment on the Iraq War is entitled to respect?"
posted by edverb at 5:39 AM on March 16, 2006


An Iraqi colleague of mine, Dr. Ali, (recently deceased) helped shape my view of the war as it was coming. Perhaps sadness over the war helped killed him. He likened the effort to reuniting Yugoslavia after the Bosnian massacres. Hussein was too selfish to support terrorists or any causes except himself. Hussein would have gift-wrapped weapons of mass destruction to avoid invasion - but all he could do was tell the truth: he didn't have any.

This war combines the worst of conservativism, imperialism and the belief that might can make right, with the worst of liberalism, good intentions will save the day. On top of a near impossible mission, it added in poor planning (let's plan for the best case scenario!).

There's no sangfroid here. There's the deep misery of everything that has been lost. Lives, money, respect, human rights, the Bill of Rights. . .
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:04 AM on March 16, 2006


Thanks edverb! Great link from a great blogger.

Howard Dean has creds, yes! He was willing to speak up and tell the truth and was savaged for it. But he was correct in what he said and that is why he was savaged. Kinda like what Jek (dhoyt) Porkins is trying to pull in this thread.
posted by nofundy at 6:25 AM on March 16, 2006


Kinda like what Jek (dhoyt) Porkins is trying to pull in this thread.

Serious question: is that a joke or an accusation?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:44 AM on March 16, 2006


Great troll, Jek. Not only is the media so pathetic to have generated these enourmous gaps of logic while maintaining zero context, they've now hooked on to shifting the debate of scrutiny to one of questioning patriotism and motivation:

"You all wanted us to fail, and look where we are now!"

I wonder where they learned to do that? I wonder why idiots like you have picked it up and ran with it? No, wait... that's obvious. You've got nothing else but pathetic bile and accusation to shift around. It's alot easier than confronting reality and owning up to the bullshit your types wretch forth, even to this day. You make me sick.
posted by prostyle at 7:04 AM on March 16, 2006


I'm not happy about all this. I'm seething.

"Now that the war in Iraq is all but over, should the people in Hollywood who opposed the president admit they were wrong?"
(Fox News Channel's Alan Colmes, 4/25/03)

Now that the war in Iraq has proven to be exactly the murderous quagmire that the critics suggested it would be, and Iraq itself has turned into a brilliant recruiting and training ground for terrorists, exactly as the CIA predicted, and it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction, just like Scott Ritter told us, shouldn't Alan Colmes be pilloried for comments like this? Or is that gloating? Is that us being happy?

Because if this rage is what happiness feels like, I'd rather go back to unhappy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:08 AM on March 16, 2006


Astro Zombie: Alan Colmes Loses Debate with Nephew
posted by matteo at 7:24 AM on March 16, 2006


Once again, The Onion saves the day.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:31 AM on March 16, 2006


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:35 AM on March 16, 2006


I couldn't even make it through the list of quotes; I am so sick, I'm about to vomit. The waste of tens of thousands of lives, of hundreds of billions of dollars can and should be placed squarely on The President's shoulders. Mr. Bush has squandered not only the patriotic youth and the riches of America, but also any reputation we had as a good nation. At the very least he should have his face rubbed in the shit he made. The best we can hope for is that the more dispassionate eye of time will view him as the warmonger he is.

With all the spinning and lying and obscuring of The Truth, the democratic process has been broken, perhaps irreparably. Bush convinced the American public that as a born-again Christian, he would have a pipeline to God, he would be a moral leader, but by chumming the waters with the bait of anti-homosexual legislation, Bush was able to capture the Christian vote, when all along Bush has been as Christ-like as Attila the Hun. Yet given incontrovertible evidence: the condoning of torture, the mess in Iraq, the spying on American citizens, the Right still carries on with the sham that they best represent what America stands for.

When will they be held accountable?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:14 AM on March 16, 2006


The part that's most galling about all this, as gum pointed out right out of the gate, is the Bush I and Brent Scowcroft predicted this nearly ten years prior. This view, that was presumably also shared by Colin Powell, was what informed Howard Dean's remarks. The Democrats rolled over to be sure, and the media performed fellatio on the administration, but where were the principled Republicans who knew what was going to happen, yet remained silent when it was their duty to protest? At the very least, Powell should have resigned over it, rather than deliver his pack of lies to the UN< but apparently was running a bit short of intestinal fortitude at the point to.

Y'know, all this bullshit aside about removing an unredeemable tyrant, and bringing democracy to the middle east, the administration will have failed to achieve what was very likely its fundamental objective in launching this war in the first place: gaining access to/control of the world's second largest stockpile of petroleum reserves. Assuming there's some truth to all the peak oil apocalypse stories I've read, going to war in Iraq has probably hastened the economic turmoil to come rather than been an effective hedge against it.
posted by psmealey at 8:14 AM on March 16, 2006


Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace a week-and-a-half ago:‘Everything’ In Iraq Is ‘Going Very, Very Well’ :
"TIM RUSSERT: If you were to be asked whether things in Iraq are going well or badly, what would you say? How would you answer?

PACE: I’d say they’re going well. I wouldn’t put a great big smiley face on it, but I would say they’re going very, very well from everything you look at."
Fox News' 'Your World with Neil Cavuto' on February 23: "All-Out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?"

You spin me right round, baby, right round.
posted by ericb at 8:15 AM on March 16, 2006


In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Robertson restated his "100 percent" support for Bush's re-election and said he began and ended his CNN interview "with my warm endorsement and praise of President Bush." But he did not back away from his comments.

"I emphatically stated that, 'I believe 'the blessing of heaven is upon him,' and I am persuaded that he will win this election and prevail on the war against terror in order to keep America safe from her avowed enemies," Robertson said.

In his CNN interview, the religious leader described Bush on the eve of the invasion as "the most self-assured man I've ever met in my life."

"You remember Mark Twain said, 'He looks like a contented Christian with four aces.' I mean he was just sitting there like, 'I'm on top of the world,' " Robertson said on CNN's "Paula Zahn Now."

"And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' "

He said that's when the president told him he did not expect casualties from the invasion.

posted by digaman at 8:15 AM on March 16, 2006


Are you seeing it yet, teece?

Not in the least. And if you think you are, I seriously suggest you check your biases. It's seems plain as day to me what you're doing: you were against the war, but you don't side with the average anti-war person, so you have to come up with something so that you are not "with them."

But your something seems like complete and utter bullshit to me.
posted by teece at 8:16 AM on March 16, 2006


Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace

Pentagon Generals are politicians that ceased to be soldiers long ago. Don't look for anything resembling candor from him, or Myers before him.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 8:19 AM on March 16, 2006


What strikes me is how many of the "liberal" media just bought into it so easily. I was expecting a link chock full of Fox News quotes but they only made up a few. This is a good link though and hopefully one people will begin to use as part of their debates about this mess we have over there.

As homunculus pointed out, the administration laid out their Preventative War doctrine and it's basically the same thing as proffered in 2003. What I find so fucking annoying about it is that it's presented with the concept that we're gonna get them before they get us. Help me out here, when was Iraq going to bomb our homeland? When was anyone?

The United States is telling the world - if we don't like you, look out. It's not about your latent ability to harm us, it's about our perceived understanding of what we think you might do someday down the road.

Anyone think Russia and China are going to be ok with that?
posted by j.p. Hung at 8:25 AM on March 16, 2006


sotonohito: Home run.

And you know what: "They" who would still try and cop the attitude that the "dirty hippies" don't really know how the world works can fuck off.

It's Allard who's the goddamned traitor. It's Rumsfeld and Cheney and Rice and every other bastard who squandered this nation's blood and treasure, every right-wing pundit who portrayed the liberals' suggestion that we ought to do a little more looking before we leapt as cowardice. It's the wingnut bloggers who demanded action for action's sake, who's profound hostility to intellectualism prevented them from ever thinking that we might be ripping the lid off pandora's box.

Every one of them betrayed their fucking country.

So we're going to listen to them now? "They" who were so utterly wrong on virtually every count?

The country ought to listen to what they suggest, then do the exact opposite.
posted by kgasmart at 8:26 AM on March 16, 2006


When will they be held accountable?

Why do you think they'll ever be held accountable? On this very day Bush is putting out a new strategy memo that reaffirms the Iraq war.

Republicans in America will never admit what a collossal mistake Iraq was. If it's not clear now, it will never be clear. Iraq will be viewed exactly the same way Vietnam is viewed today. There will be enormous, bitter debate about why we won the way, why we lost it, and each side will ultimately blame the other and the media, the veritable scapegoat-of-last-resort in America. Ultimately, defeat in Iraq war will likely ultimately serve the same purpose that German defeat and shame in WWI served: it will crystallize the nationalist, militarist core of the country and propel the country towards even greater military follies.
posted by nixerman at 8:31 AM on March 16, 2006


Help me out here, when was Iraq going to bomb our homeland?

Well the Bush Administration -- most particularly Cheney -- often claimed publicly that Iraq and Al Qaeda and that we had to get them over there, before they got us over here:
"Along with the contention that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and other top administration officials have often asserted that there were extensive ties between Hussein's government and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network; earlier this year, Cheney said evidence of a link was 'overwhelming.'"
[Washington Post | June 17, 2004]
posted by ericb at 8:37 AM on March 16, 2006


*often claimed publicly that there was a direct link between Iraq and Al Qaeda*
posted by ericb at 8:37 AM on March 16, 2006


March 17, 2003 -- Invasion Iraq: Three Years Later.
posted by ericb at 8:43 AM on March 16, 2006


"We know that [Saddam] has the infrastructure, nuclear scientists to make a nuclear weapon," [Condoleeza Rice] told me. "And we know that when the inspectors assessed this after the Gulf War, he was far, far closer to a crude nuclear device than anybody thought -- maybe six months from a crude nuclear device."

Dr. Rice then said something that was ominous and made headlines around the world.

"The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

posted by digaman at 8:48 AM on March 16, 2006


If you look back at my old comments, you will find me arguing for the Iraq war. My justification was that it was probable that Iraq was planning a serious (possibly nuclear) attack on American soil.

Pretty stupid, huh? I just didn't think that the President of America would lie on national TV like that. (Clinton aside.)

After a lot of reading about the situation, I had to conclude that Iraq was never a nuclear threat and not likely to even be a mustard gas threat and that my President lied to me.

I don't understand how anyone can avoid that conclusion at this point. It's as plain as day.


Sorta OT: Having read quite a bit on electronic voting machines for a college course, I fully expected a repeat of the 2000 election mess in 2004, only this time all over the country. Post-election analysis shows that I was (by any reasonable measure) correct that there would be widespread election fraud. When Kerry immediately conceded, I couldn't understand it (and still can't, really. Skull-n-Bones loyalty or some other parapolitical deal, I guess.)
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:49 AM on March 16, 2006


XQUZYPHYR,
Haven't you noticed the style? I have no factual proof but, yeah, if I'm any observer of people, too many similarities there.
posted by nofundy at 8:49 AM on March 16, 2006


They still try and link Iraq with Al Qaeda and 9/11, but in such a sneaky, underhanded way that allows them to deny it when called on it.

From Bush's State of the Union address:

On September 11th, 2001, we found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state 7,000 miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country.

Dictatorships shelter terrorists, feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction. Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror.


Yeah, fucking Iraq! Wait, did he mean Afghanistan? Saudi Arabaia? Where's my map?
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:00 AM on March 16, 2006


Ultimately, defeat in Iraq war will likely ultimately serve the same purpose that German defeat and shame in WWI served: it will crystallize the nationalist, militarist core of the country and propel the country towards even greater military follies.
posted by nixerman at 11:31 AM EST


Yikes! I never thought of that. Scary stuff. And what with the mix of religious fundamentalism and nationalistic warmongers we're seeing today (like in Nazi Germany) what you project has a way too real possibility.
posted by nofundy at 9:13 AM on March 16, 2006


If you look back at my old comments, you will find me arguing for the Iraq war. My justification was that it was probable that Iraq was planning a serious (possibly nuclear) attack on American soil.

Pretty stupid, huh? I just didn't think that the President of America would lie on national TV like that. (Clinton aside.)


I'm in the same boat. I firmly believed that the President wouldn't dare lie about the intelligence he had on Iraq because the fallout when his lies were found out would be so horrendous. Obviously, I was wrong on both counts.
posted by EarBucket at 9:17 AM on March 16, 2006


"Mission Accomplished" -- May 1, 2003

"The insurgency in Iraq is 'in the last throes,' Vice President Dick Cheney says..." -- June 20, 2005

"U.S. launches largest Iraq air assault in 3 years" -- March 16, 2006
posted by ericb at 9:18 AM on March 16, 2006


Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

Senate Backs Almost $9 Trillion Debt Limit

[...]

The measure allows the government to pay for the war in Iraq and finance Medicare and other big federal programs without raising taxes.

[...]
posted by digaman at 9:24 AM on March 16, 2006


Comedy gold. Tragic comedy gold, but comedy gold nonetheless.
posted by caddis at 9:28 AM on March 16, 2006


And what with the mix of religious fundamentalism and nationalistic warmongers we're seeing today (like in Nazi Germany) what you project has a way too real possibility.

And when that day comes, the targets of the machine won't be selected by ethnicity, as the Nazis did, they'll be chosen for their political orientation. This is one of the main reasons why I think hate mongers like Coulter and Malkin are dangerous and not to be dismissed as attention hounds. They feed this hatred, and I fear that it will lead to something quite uncontrollable if worse comes to worse in this country (breakdown of social order, etc.).
posted by psmealey at 9:31 AM on March 16, 2006


WMDs were not found in Iraq, in large or other quantity. Neither was objective evidence that they had been destroyed. In terms of both American politics and objective reality, the war was a sham, and the President should be indicted.
posted by EarBucket at 9:38 AM on March 16, 2006


This is one of the main reasons why I think hate mongers like Coulter and Malkin are dangerous and not to be dismissed as attention hounds. They feed this hatred, and I fear that it will lead to something quite uncontrollable if worse comes to worse in this country (breakdown of social order, etc.).

But you only have to watch O'Reilly or read Powerline or listen to Sean Hannity or David Horowitz to know that the only thing that really gets them fired up any more is loathing of liberals. The only way the GOP base will be motivated to vote for an incompetent, exhausted, fiscally insane administration is if they get to vote against "libruls". ... So watch out for the anti-left hate and hysteria from Republicans. It's coming. It's all they've got left.
posted by kgasmart at 9:40 AM on March 16, 2006


It's a quagmire in Iraq.

More U.S. Troops Moving Into Iraq
"March was supposed to be the month when the U.S. commander in Iraq made a recommendation to pull more troops out of Iraq. Instead, he has asked for more troops to be sent in."
[CBS News | March 14, 2006]
posted by ericb at 9:54 AM on March 16, 2006


And the tide has turned regarding public sentiment vis-a-vis the war --

New CBS News Poll [PDF]:
Only 3% of Americans believe Bush decided to go to war to free the Iraqis or promote democracy.

Only 25% of Americans believe the Iraq war was worth the costs.
posted by ericb at 9:56 AM on March 16, 2006


I don't have any liberal guilt at all about having some joy at seeing all those Republican assholes suffer now. Fuck them all-they're ruining this country.
posted by PHINC at 9:57 AM on March 16, 2006


January 2, 2003:
White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels told The New York Times in an interview published Tuesday that such a conflict could cost $50 billion to $60 billion.
Paul Wolfowitz March 27, 2003:
There's a lot of money to pay for this that doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money...We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon
Lawrence Lindsey was fired in 2002 for estimating that the war would cost between $100 billion and $200 billion. The cost of the Iraq War is now close to $400 billion. The war costs $100,000 per minute.

I'd say they're going well.

Which is why we just launched Operation Swarmer northeast of Samarra, "the largest air assault since the U.S.-led invasion," with more than 1,500 troops. Because major combat operations in Iraq have ended. Mission accomplished, bitches!
posted by kirkaracha at 9:59 AM on March 16, 2006


I say this just because I have to. I realize that no one cares, and that this point has already been decided (again, officially, today):

It is wrong to attack another nation that is not invading or at war with another nation. It is wrong because it is aggressive behavior, and not self-defense. It is wrong because a "pre-emptive" strike will always be based on information that is controlled by the government. As we know, that information can be wrong, and it can be intentionally misleading. It is wrong because it is not fair to say that other nations are not allowed to put themselves in a position to defend themselves.

Wars should be fought to defend our borders from attack or invasion, and to help another country whose borders have been attacked or invaded.

I practice criminal defense. I can't walk into a court room and claim self defense when my client punches a guy in the face because he thinks the guy has been taking karate lessons and will my client's ass when he is done. There is not a judge or a juror that would buy that argument. And there is no reason why we should buy that same argument on a much larger scale when it leads to taking of lives.
posted by flarbuse at 10:05 AM on March 16, 2006


Senate Backs Almost $9 Trillion Debt Limit

"The increase to $9 trillion represents about $30,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States."
posted by ericb at 10:07 AM on March 16, 2006


CNN/USA TodayGallup Poll -- March 14, 2006

Was going to Iraq a mistake? -- Yes -- 56%
How is Iraq going? -- Badly -- 60%
Does Bush have a clear plan for Iraq? -- No -- 67%
Did Bush mislead public on WMD? -- Yes -- 51%
Certain we'll win in Iraq -- 22%
posted by ericb at 10:16 AM on March 16, 2006


NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll -- March 15, 2006

"Are you more or less confident the war in Iraq will come to a successful conclusion?" -- Less Confident -- 57%

"Do you think the U.S. should maintain or reduce its current troop level in Iraq?" -- Reduce -- 61%
posted by ericb at 10:25 AM on March 16, 2006


"The scenes we've witnessed in Baghdad and other free Iraqi cities belie the widespread early commentary suggesting that Iraqis were ambivalent or even opposed to the coalition's arrival in their country. I think it's fair to say that they were not ambivalent or opposed, but they were understandably frightened of the regime of Saddam Hussein and the retaliation or retribution that they could have suffered. And now, as their fear of the former Iraqi dictator lessens, the true sentiments of a large majority, I believe, of the Iraqi people are surfacing. And I think it's increasingly clear that most welcome coalition forces and see them not as invaders or occupiers, but as liberators."

-- Rumsfeld, April 11, 2003
posted by digaman at 10:42 AM on March 16, 2006


Sure, but at least the Iraqis themselves are better off than they were udner Hussein. Just ask them:

*"Every day I feel like I am waiting in a queue for death," said one Baghdad lawyer, too frightened to be named in print.

*In the violent northern oil city of Kirkuk, labourer Ali Salman, said: "Before the war ... torture and killing took place in secret. Now it's all in public. The meaning of freedom is different: Nowadays you're free to live. And free to kill."

*"Where is the new democracy? Why is this happening to us?" asked Hamad Farhan Abdulla, 57, a farmer from south of Baghdad who came to the city morgue looking for the body of his nephew, who he feared had fallen victim to death squad killers.

*"The ghost of death chases us everywhere," said Thanaa Ismail, a 45-year-old teacher from the mainly Shi'ite southern city of Diwaniya. "I have cancer and need treatment in Baghdad but security has got worse and I've had to skip some sessions."
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:01 AM on March 16, 2006


Off-topic, but related:
"A majority of Americans, 56 percent, believe Bush is 'out of touch,' the [Pew Research Center's latest] poll found. When asked for a one-word description of Bush, the most frequent response was 'incompetent,' followed by 'good,' 'idiot' and 'liar.' In February 2005, the most frequent reply was 'honest.'

'The transformation from being seen as honest to being seen as incompetent is an extraordinary indicator of how far he has fallen,' [Andrew] Kohut, [director of the Pew Research Center] said."

[Reuters | March 16, 2006]
posted by ericb at 11:09 AM on March 16, 2006


America will strike first.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:12 AM on March 16, 2006


"Former neocon Francis Fukuyama, author of a new book highly critical of Bush's handling of Iraq, writes: 'By invading Iraq, the Bush administration created a self-fulfilling prophecy: Iraq has now replaced Afghanistan as a magnet, a training ground and an operational basis for jihadists, with plenty of American targets to shoot at.'

Most Americans won't read Mr. Fukuyama, but this turn in elite opinion - echoed by columnists George Will and Andrew Sullivan - in a way represents a canary in a coal mine, and a danger that more Republicans in Congress could start to turn against the Iraq war as the midterm elections draw closer, analysts say. Even Richard Perle, one of Washington's best-known neocons, is stating publicly that the administration 'got the war right and the aftermath wrong.'" [Christian Science Monitor | March 15, 2006]
posted by ericb at 11:14 AM on March 16, 2006


I find it a little creepy that it really appears that Bush's opponents are actually happy that Iraq is an enormously expensive disaster that has cost tens of thousands of lives.

How is it possible for you to say such stupid things?

Though I see someone thinks you're a dhoyt sockpuppet, which would easily explain the stupidity. If you are dhoyt, FOAD.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:16 AM on March 16, 2006


Perle is not just "one of Washington's best-known neocons," he was one of the top architects of the war.
posted by digaman at 11:17 AM on March 16, 2006


"I will bet you the best dinner in the gaslight district of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week. Are you willing to take that wager?"
-- Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, 1/29/03

“I'm disrespectful to dirt. Can you see that I am serious? Out of my way, all of you. This is no place for loafers! Join me or die! Can you do any less?”
-- Mr. Sparkle
posted by Smedleyman at 11:24 AM on March 16, 2006


Saddam Was Trying to Capture Zarqawi
posted by homunculus at 1:26 PM on March 16, 2006


Bush avoided attacking Zarqawi
posted by kirkaracha at 2:24 PM on March 16, 2006


Iraq has now replaced Afghanistan as a magnet, a training ground and an operational basis for jihadists, with plenty of American targets to shoot at.

Which is what everyone said would happen months before the invasion even happened.

Christ, it's like all the fucking idiots just got their ticket on the Clue Train. While it's nice to share the ride with you, it would have been even nicer to have had you on board back in November.

Oh, and awesome!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:51 PM on March 16, 2006


That new policy statement sure sounds like we're going to attack Iran, but maybe it's just saber-rattling.

Of course, we've got a whole set of "non-permanent" huge-ass airbases in Iraq to stage out of now...

And for you Bush supporters, if you think the war in Iraq is a huge and ridiculously expensive boondoggle, attacking Iran will probably utterly destroy America's government budget and deficit thereof.

Of course, Congress can keep pushing the debt limit up and Treasury can keep printing money, but it is going to bite us, and every last one of us here in America - except the very wealthiest fraction of 1% of us, of course - will be in some shit-sorry shape if we keep wasting all our cash on ill-conceived foreign wars.

It's going to get ugly, and we're going to blame you for it. So get ready to get punched in the mouth, hard, if your Leader keeps up with his crazy "world-making" and bankrupts the wealthiest nation in the world in the process.
posted by zoogleplex at 7:29 PM on March 16, 2006


Don't forget Bush said: God Told Me to Invade Iraq.

Who cares about the lives lost, the money spent, the growing debt.
posted by ericb at 8:09 PM on March 16, 2006


President George W. Bush, July 2, 2003:
"There are some who feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on."
US deaths since July 2, 2003: 2,107
posted by kirkaracha at 9:29 PM on March 16, 2006


Don't forget Bush said: God Told Me to Invade Iraq. Who cares about the lives lost, the money spent, the growing debt.

God and debt, together again...
posted by homunculus at 9:43 PM on March 16, 2006


Yah, well, as an outsider who has seen you Americans rant about the how terrible the government is before, I ain't holding my breath.

Words are cheap. Let's see some fucking action.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:47 PM on March 16, 2006


"Let's see some fucking action."

YOU FASCIST BASTARDS!
*storms public works dept.*
*holds snowtruck driver hostage*
posted by Smedleyman at 9:45 AM on March 17, 2006


A better name for Operation Swarmer, billed as "the largest air assault operation" since the end of major combat operations, would have been Operation Potemkin, since it was mostly for show.
...according to a colleague of mine from TIME who traveled up there today on a U.S. embassy-sponsored trip, there are no insurgents, no fighting and 17 of the 41 prisoners taken have already been released after just one day.
...
As noted, about 1,500 troops were involved, 700 American and 800 Iraqi. But get this: in the area they’re scouring there are only about 1,500 residents. According to my colleague and other reporters who were there, not a single shot has been fired.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:11 PM on March 17, 2006


Harry Shearer, on his Le Show radio program this week, reminded us of Donald Rumsfeld's statement shortly before the invasion that (close paraphrase here) "our use of force in Iraq will take 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months, but certainly not any longer than that".
posted by neuron at 8:36 PM on March 17, 2006


Time magazine: How Operation Swarmer Fizzled --
"Not a shot was fired, or a leader nabbed, in a major offensive that failed to live up to its advance billing."
posted by ericb at 9:55 AM on March 18, 2006


BBC News: "So how and why did this latest apparently routine combing operation, yielding a few arms caches and netting some low-grade suspects, manage to win stop-press coverage around the world?"
posted by ericb at 1:49 PM on March 18, 2006


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