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How the Bush administration sold the Iraq war

“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,” Cheney said. “There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us.” Zinni, sitting right next to Cheney’s lectern, says he “literally bolted” when he heard the vice president’s comments. “In doing work with the CIA on Iraq WMD [weapons of mass destruction], through all the briefings I heard at Langley, I never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program.” Rachel Maddow hosts Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War, a documentary special, based on the eponymous book by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, that will air Monday, February 18 on MSNBC at 9 p.m.
posted by shivohum on Feb 18, 2013 - 218 comments

That’s when I lost my country

Three days late, The War Nerd looks back on 9/11 and mourns.
posted by clarknova on Sep 14, 2011 - 79 comments

The Downward Spiral

What killed Sgt. Gray? "He survived the war only to die at home. An exploration of his death and his combat unit's activities reveals what can happen to soldiers who feel the freedom -- or the pressure -- to do things in war they can't live with later." -- An American Radioworks documentary.
posted by empath on Nov 11, 2008 - 29 comments

The Chain of Command in Coercive Interrogations

“You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas." A Vanity Fair reporter investigates the chain of command that tossed out the Geneva Conventions and instituted coercive interrogation techniques -- some might call them torture or even war crimes -- in Bush's Global War on Terror. UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo's now-obsolete 81-page memo to the Pentagon in 2003 [available as PDFs here and here] was crucial, offering a broad range of legal justifications and deniability for disregarding international law in the name of "self-defense." Others say that Yoo was just making "a clear point about the limits of Congress to intrude on the executive branch in its exercise of duties as Commander in Chief." [previously here and here.]
posted by digaman on Apr 3, 2008 - 76 comments

Bush's War

In honor of the 5-year anniversary of the Iraq War, PBS' Frontline presented a fantastic 2- part special on the issue this past Monday and Tuesday. It is now available in it's entirety online along with interview transcripts from senior officials, a video timeline of the war, and battlefield stories from soldiers. Bush's War
posted by auralcoral on Mar 26, 2008 - 100 comments

Iraq was just the beginning.

Iraq was just the beginning. According to retired General Wesley Clark, a top-secret memo detailed a plan for “taking out” seven countries in five years, ending with Iran. [more inside]
posted by FeldBum on Oct 14, 2007 - 129 comments

That is to say there are things that we now know we don't know.

Donald Rumsfeld, Revealed - Parts 1 and 2. A nice, brief historical roundup of the man who - in the words of John McCain - is "one of the worst secretaries of defense in history."
posted by nevercalm on Feb 20, 2007 - 40 comments

It’s hard to remember, but he was once the future.

“How could this happen to someone so good, so competent?” he said. “This war made me doubt the past. Was I wrong all those years, or was he just better back then? The Donald Rumsfeld of today is not the Donald Rumsfeld I knew, but maybe I was wrong about the old Donald Rumsfeld. It’s a terrible way to end a career. It’s hard to remember, but he was once the future.”
And for comparison, How did so many smart guys make such a mess of Vietnam?
posted by orthogonality on Nov 13, 2006 - 98 comments

Who do the troops support?

US Military Papers open fire on Rummy. Tomorrow, the Army Times -- and all other Military Times papers, including Navy and Air Force Times -- will run an editorial calling for Donald Rumsfeld to tender his resignation or be fired, due to his gross incompetence in handling the Iraq quagmire.
posted by lazaruslong on Nov 5, 2006 - 70 comments

Partitioning Democracy

The practical future of the country formerly known as Iraq. [NewsFilter, but a significant acknowledgement of something long-in-coming.]
posted by digaman on Aug 9, 2006 - 63 comments

"Let him stay one second."

Newsfilter: Rumsfeld squirms (via).
posted by bardic on May 4, 2006 - 104 comments

Rebels in the Ranks

"I've been silent long enough... My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results." Marine Lieutenant General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's former top operations officer, becomes the latest military insider to raise his voice against the "zealots" who led the US into war in Iraq. He writes in Time magazine: "Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again... After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq--an unnecessary war." During the Vietnam war, such discontent among soldiers sparked a massive campaign of disobedience and peace activism (as well as, more darkly, fragging) within the ranks, as recounted in a new documentary called Sir! No Sir! Can it happen again? Ask the Soldiers for the Truth.
posted by digaman on Apr 9, 2006 - 60 comments

Five months plus 31 more

"The rationale for a free and democratic Iraq is as compelling today as it was three years ago.... Consider that if we retreat now, there is every reason to believe Saddamists and terrorists will fill the vacuum -- and the free world might not have the will to face them again. Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis."

More wisdom from the man who said in 2002 "I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today will last five days, five weeks or five months, but it won't last any longer than that."
posted by orthogonality on Mar 18, 2006 - 99 comments

Your Hosts, Lynndie and Charles, Welcome You to the New Interrogation Facility

Adieu, Abu Ghraib -- we hardly knew ye (classified, ya know.) In the wake of a damning Amnesty International report, military spokesperson Keir-Kevin Curry says the infamous Baghdad prison will be closed within three months, its occupants transferred to other facilities in Iraq, including Camp Cropper (and don't ask what's happening there , or the terrorists win.) Or is Curry's statement premature? And would the closing of Abu Ghraib represent a change of policy, or merely rebranding the same old same old to avoid bad associations?
posted by digaman on Mar 9, 2006 - 51 comments

I'm not into this detail stuff. I'm more concepty

Special operations were fully engaged in Iraq back in 2003. Since that time the mission has (officially) shifted focus a bit to hunting down high value individuals like Osama bin Laden and a cavalcade of al-Qaida stars. But if that’s the case why are we drawing down our forces in Afghanistan? Apparently a bunch of things are going on folks are hard pressed to figure out: “Nobody understands — other than the SecDef — what the hell Kearney is supposed to do,” the Pentagon source said. “Is he supposed to be the future JSOC commander, or is the intent to continue JSOC as a three-star billet? Only the SecDef, as far as I know, knows. There’s been absolutely no explanation.”
posted by Smedleyman on Mar 8, 2006 - 40 comments

Sticker Shock and Awe

Then: Q - Mr. Secretary, on Iraq, how much money do you think the Department of Defense would need to pay for a war with Iraq? Rumsfeld - Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question. And now: The estimated cost to US taxpayers of the Iraq war to date is $250 billion and rising, or $100,000 per minute. Total cost of the Bush doctrine of spreading "democracy" since September 11th -- half a trillion dollars, or nearly the cost of the 13 years of the Vietnam War, adjusted for inflation. What else could we have done with that kind of money? Also see here.
posted by digaman on Feb 3, 2006 - 112 comments

The moderate, conservative, and neoconservative estimates of the cost of the war on Iraq

What is the cost of the war on Iraq? [more inside]
posted by edverb on Jan 8, 2006 - 48 comments

Insulation in High Places

Bush in the Bubble. Newsweek's analysis of the man who is possibly "the most isolated president in modern history."
posted by digaman on Dec 13, 2005 - 47 comments

"Mom, you're not going to like this."

"Mom, you're not going to like this." A mother of a U.S. soldier tells her son about the latest Iraq torture admissions, only to be told that his unit routinely beat and abused Iraqis. "...suppose you visit an Imam and you want him to call off IED attacks in his neighborhood. If you just go in and ask him politely, he'll tell you he'll try to help; but, he won't . . . But, if you go to that same guy and beat him up thoroughly, then ask him to knock off the attacks, he'll respect you and he'll try to help. . . ." The mother reports that her son was "under the impression that the conduct was in line with military policy."
posted by insomnia_lj on Oct 6, 2005 - 172 comments

medical or mental attrition?

Pentagon to close Walter Reed Medical Center
More than 3,700 doctors and other medical personnel will be moved to a new and expanded facility to be built at the Navy's National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., a few miles away. The move will cost nearly $989 million, and is expected to save more than $301 million over 20 years as the Pentagon seeks to streamline care and provide state of the art medical treatment for wounded servicemen and women.
And saving $301 million over 20 years is better than spending a billion dollars within the next 2 years, how? And never mind those 18,000+ American casualties coming back from the M.E. I'm sure they'll be able to improvise bedrolls during the renovations up in Bethesda...
posted by vhsiv on Aug 25, 2005 - 42 comments

Bread and Circuses, 9/11 Style

You can't make this stuff up: Rumsfeld announces that the Bush administration is planning to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with an "America Supports You freedom walk" from the Pentagon saluting the troops deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom, followed by a show by "country music superstar" Clint Black at the National Mall. (Not to imply that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11 or anything...)
posted by digaman on Aug 10, 2005 - 136 comments

Judge orders Abu Ghraib videos, pictures released.

Judge orders Abu Ghraib videos, pictures released.... and all hell's gonna break loose.

To quote Sy Hersh:
"The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out."
posted by insomnia_lj on Jun 3, 2005 - 203 comments

Feith-Based Judgement

"Expertise is a very good thing, but it is not the same thing as sound judgment regarding strategy and policy. George W. Bush has more insight, because of his knowledge of human beings and his sense of history, about the motive force, the craving for freedom and participation in self-rule, than do many of the language experts and history experts and culture experts." -- From a fascinating profile of Douglas Feith, undersecretary of Defense, and one of the main architects of the war in Iraq. From the New Yorker.
posted by digaman on May 8, 2005 - 64 comments

ACLU seeks Sanchez perjury investigation.

ACLU seeks Sanchez perjury investigation. As a followup to yesterday's post, the ACLU has sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Gonzales, requesting an investigation of Gen. Ricardo Sanchez for perjury before Congress. Sanchez is accused of lying about approving guidelines for the use of abusive interrogation techniques at Abu Ghraib prison. Now, many of you might think that Gonzales might refuse this request and be done with it. However, the ACLU has the right to request a writ of mandamus, which would compel Gonzales to initiate an investigation. If Sanchez is investigated, will he be pressured to reveal the identity of those in the Pentagon / Bush administration (Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, Cheney, Cambone?!) who knew about and possibly ordered these policies?
posted by insomnia_lj on Mar 31, 2005 - 28 comments

Dog day in Iraq.

Dog day in Iraq. PFC Connor, a Marine mascot previously mentioned in this post, was hunted down and killed just 24 hours before his planned departure from Iraq. "We found you at six weeks old. Not much more than five pounds, you lived on potted meat and long life milk. It was all we had. You grew into a little puppy, an Iraqi dog with an Irish name from Boon Dock Saints. For all the times you ran away . . . you ran to me as fast as you could when I whistled for you. It was those times that I loved you the most."
"I'm wondering why they created this policy. Were dogs barking and attracting insurgents? Were they playing fetch and accidentally bringing home IEDs instead of their stick? Does Rumsfeld just hate puppies?
"No, no, and possibly."
posted by insomnia_lj on Jan 18, 2005 - 44 comments

silent but deadly?

has the media hit the "mute" button? the news is chock-full of accounts of a soldier challenging rumsfeld with a question that makes the news media look like the pack of lap dogs they are. so - where's the audio? the video? i, for one, want to hear those thousands of soldiers respond to the question.
posted by subpixel on Dec 10, 2004 - 68 comments

Rumsfeld's War

Frontline: Rumsfeld's War, a PBS/Washington Post joint documentary that aired earlier this week is now online. It is the inside story of Rumsfeld's battle to assert civil control over the military.
posted by stbalbach on Oct 30, 2004 - 15 comments

Rumsfeld doubts Saddam Laden link

Rumsfeld doubts Saddam Laden link US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has cast doubt on whether there was ever a relationship between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.
posted by hoder on Oct 4, 2004 - 38 comments

Rumsfeld hidews prisoner from Red Cross

Pentagon officials tell NBC News that late last year, at the same time U.S. military police were allegedly abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered that one Iraqi prisoner be held “off the books” — hidden entirely from the International Red Cross and anyone else — in possible violation of international law.
posted by hipnerd on Jun 17, 2004 - 60 comments

Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld, et al

Consider Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, military defense attorney, now representing Salim Ahmed Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni who admits he was a driver for Osama bin Laden, a prisoner at Guantanamo since 2002. He was transferred to solitary confinement in December in preparation for trial, but no trial date has been set. He has been told the trial will be fair but that evidence may be withheld from him, and his lawyer must ask the government's permission before revealing any facts of the case. He can seek redress only up the chain of command--in other words, to the people who decided he should be charged in the first place. Swift has filed lawsuit in Federal District Court in Seattle against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush, arguing not only that Hamdan is an innocent civilian, but that the military tribunal President Bush's administration created to try him is unconstitutional. Also, he says, the tribunal rules violate military law and the Geneva Conventions. If the government is right and Hamdan cannot use this legal avenue, "the logical result" is that Hamdan "could serve a potential life sentence without ever being charged with a crime and without being afforded a chance to prove his innocence," legal filings state. (More Within)
posted by y2karl on Jun 16, 2004 - 21 comments

The Scandal's Growing Stain

The Scandal's Growing Stain Time Magazine: "Abuses by U.S. soldiers in Iraq shock the world and roil the Bush Administration. the inside story of what went wrong—and who's to blame"
posted by Postroad on May 9, 2004 - 18 comments

Iraq Lacked Atom Whack

At least four times in the fall of 2002, the president and his advisers invoked the specter of a "mushroom cloud," and some of them, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, described Iraq's nuclear ambitions as a threat to the American homeland... Among the closely held internal judgments of the Iraq Survey Group, overseen by David Kay as special representative of CIA Director George J. Tenet, are that Iraq's nuclear weapons scientists did no significant arms-related work after 1991, that facilities with suspicious new construction proved benign, and that equipment of potential use to a nuclear program remained under seal or in civilian industrial use.

So in regards to Iraq's possession of the one weapon we can be certain causes mass destruction: the atomic bomb, as Gregg Easterbrook put it, the verdict is the unsurprising (and unsurprisingly closely held) nope, not, zero, zip, nada...
posted by y2karl on Oct 27, 2003 - 21 comments

Let's fire Rumsfeld!

Let's fire Rumsfeld! Moveon wants him fired and so does Truemajority. Considering the White House has been looking for a fall guy for Iraq for some time now, can the constituents help Bush decide? I guess we can debate the effectiveness of petitions but photos like these are just impressive.
posted by skallas on Sep 18, 2003 - 31 comments

The Not SO Willing And The Not So Able Plus Postwar Window Closing in Iraq

Preparing for War, Stumbling to Peace The Bush administration planned well and won the war with minimal allied casualties. Now, according to interviews with dozens of administration officials, military leaders and independent analysts, missteps in the planning for the subsequent peace could threaten the lives of soldiers and drain U.S. resources indefinitely and cloud the victory itself. Lonely At The Top Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said last week that he hoped to enlist as many as 30,000 troops from 49 nations. The problem, however, is that many of the recruits the Pentagon has tried to line up so far appear to fall into two categories: the not so willing and the not that able. Report: U.S. May Call National Guard for Iraq Duty - The Pentagon could start a call-up of as many as 10,000 U.S. National Guard soldiers by this winter to bolster forces in Iraq and offset a lack of troops from allies, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Postwar Window Closing in Iraq, Study Says A team of outside experts dispatched by the Pentagon to assess security and reconstruction operations in Iraq reported yesterday that the window of opportunity for achieving postwar success is closing and requires immediate and dramatic action by U.S. military and civilian personnel. Turning and turning in the widening gyre...
posted by y2karl on Jul 18, 2003 - 52 comments

"General Rumsfeld"

"General Rumsfeld" “This is tragic,” one senior planner said bitterly. “American lives are being lost.” The former intelligence official told me, “They all said, ‘We can do it with air power.’ They believed their own propaganda.”
posted by skallas on Apr 1, 2003 - 11 comments

Rumsfeld Tried To Embed Bechtel And Himself With Saddam As Iraq Gassed Iranians

Embedding? Rumsfeld et al Tried to Embed Bechtel and Themselves with Saddam as Iraq Gassed Iranians. "Our examination [issued by the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network and the Institute for Policy Studies with recently released supporting documents] shines a new spotlight on the revolving door between Bechtel and the Reagan Administration that drove U.S.-Iraq interactions between 1983 and 1985. The men who courted Saddam while he gassed Iranians are now waging war against him, ostensibly because he holds weapons of mass destruction. To a man, they now deny that oil has anything to do with the conflict. Yet during the Reagan Administration, and in the years leading up to the present conflict, these men shaped and implemented a strategy that has everything to do with securing Iraqi oil exports....[This paper] notes that the break in US-Iraq relations occurred not after Iraq used chemical weapons on the Iranians, nor after Iraq gassed its own Kurdish people, nor even after Iraq invaded Kuwait, but rather, followed Saddam's rejection of the Aqaba pipeline deal. Finally, this paper shows that the main actors in the 1980s drama are now back on center stage, this time justifying military action against Iraq in terms of national security....The Bush/Cheney administration now eyes Bechtel as a primary contractor for the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure." (via Progressive Review.)
posted by fold_and_mutilate on Mar 28, 2003 - 9 comments

US and Gassing Iraqis

Military use of Gas
Top US military planners are preparing for the US to use incapacitating biochemical weapons in an invasion of Iraq. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, revealed the plans in February 5th testimony before the US House Armed Services Committee. This is the first official US acknowledgement that it may use (bio)chemical weapons in its crusade to rid other countries of such weapons.

Would someone explain to me again why we're attacking Iraq? Was it something about use and/or possession of chemical weapons?
posted by nofundy on Mar 21, 2003 - 60 comments

“President Bush’s case against Saddam Hussein ... relied on a slanted and sometimes entirely false reading of the available US intelligence, government officials and analysts claimed yesterday.” Another article on the same subject says, “Rumsfeld’s recent remark that the United States has ‘bulletproof’ evidence of links between Al Qaeda and Hussein struck many in the intelligence community as an exaggerated assessment of the available evidence.” One paper explains the differences this way, “The C.I.A. has to maintain its credibility for objective estimates. The White House is mobilizing the public and preparing foreign nations for a potential American invasion of Iraq.”
posted by raaka on Oct 12, 2002 - 44 comments

TRANSCRIPTS:
A case on Iraq - Rumsfeld's testimony to Senate Armed Services Committee, 9.19.02.
The National Security Strategy of the United States of America.
GAO e-Government Proposal.
Senator Byrd on the Department of Homeland Security.
Today's bumper crop of limited audience government info links. "Maybe only 50,000 people want to know what's going on in Libya, but those 50,000 people are really important. You don't want to have more planes blow up. But maybe six million people want to watch Jerry Springer. Well, who owns the airwaves? Basically we do." Do you think that unprocessed, source texts are getting filtered effectively to the public?
posted by sheauga on Sep 22, 2002 - 7 comments

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