Thursday, May 25, 2006

In Denial 

Austin Bay points to another bit of exceptional analysis by Norm Geras regarding the portion of the political left which is simply in denial regarding the reasons for the Iraq War. Says Geras:

The signs of denial are abundant in the recent public life of the western democracies: in the banners and slogans for that Saturday on February 15 2003, from which one would never have known that Saddam's Iraq was a foul tyranny; in the numbers of those on the left unwilling to allow, many indeed unable to comprehend, why others of us supported a regime-change war; in a constant stream of comment in liberal daily papers and weeklies of the left; in the excommunications issued and more recent calls for apology or recantation; and, most seriously, in the perceptible lack of interest in initiatives of solidarity with the forces in Iraq battling for a democratic transformation of their country, part of a wider lack of enthusiasm for the success of this enterprise given its origins in a war led by George Bush.

Read Geras, and the Euston Manifesto too. Think about all the other spheres about which that same denial is applicable.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu May 25, 06:49:00 PM:

mushroom clouds, unmanned toy planes capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, mobile weapons labs, yellow cake from africa.

the iraq was waged to protect the american people from weapons of mass destruction, until of course, they couldnt find any, then it became about bringing democracy to the oil fields...i mean the good folks of the middle east.


By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Fri May 26, 12:12:00 PM:

Chemical weapons have been used against coalition troops in Iraq since 2003. If you look really, *really* hard you might find certain press accounts of this.

The truth of the matter is way more complicated than you imagine.  

By Blogger Gordon Smith, at Fri May 26, 01:02:00 PM:

Speaking of denial...

"It is now clear the story is not true," Douglas Kelly, the National Post's editor in chief, wrote in a long editorial on Page 2. "We apologize for the mistake and for the consternation it has caused not just National Post readers, but the broader public who read the story."

The article was based on a column by Iranian expatriate writer Amir Taheri, who said a law being debated by Iran's parliament would force Jews to sew a yellow strip of cloth to their clothes. Christians would wear a red strip while Zoroastrians would wear a blue one.

Iranian lawmakers, including the country's sole Jewish parliamentarian, have flatly denied the National Post story, saying there is no mention of discriminatory measures against religious minorities in a new dress code bill."


On topic: I'm glad we've settled on the reason we invaded Iraq, the top reasons didn't turn out to be true, so we've ended up at reason 5 or 6. Next time I'm about to do something really unnecessary, I'm going to come up with a dozen reasons. At least one of them is bound to ring true!  

By Blogger Gordon Smith, at Fri May 26, 01:06:00 PM:

From Glenn Greenwald:

"The same people who conjured up the cakewalks, Saddam's chemical stockpiles and mushroom clouds that led us into the Iraq disaster are now trying the same fraudulent tactics to induce Americans to get rid of the regime in Iran. But as the article details, all of those groups now recognize that the story was false. Indeed, the original newspaper publishing the story has not just retracted it, but said expressly that it is false.

But just as they continue to insist that Iraq had WMDs and elaborate contacts with Al Qaeda, Powerline is not going to abandon this claim just because every fact makes indisputably clear that it is false. No - they have a war to deceive people into, and nothing will take precedence over that."  

By Blogger Gordon Smith, at Fri May 26, 02:30:00 PM:

*Championing Democracy*

Find me anyone who doesn't hope that Iraq will move towards stability, democracy, and peace. Just as "Saddam was an oppressive tyrant" goes without saying, so, too, does the hope that Iraq will acheive success.

The "left" wants to assure that the mistakes made that led us into this unnecessary war of choice aren't repeated, that if our nation chooses war, they are given the right information to make the right choices. The Bush administration has lied and obfuscated their way into utter untrustworthiness. There is no reason to believe they will alter their pattern of incompetence, intimidation, and misinformation.

Who would have supported a war to liberate Iraq without the threat of mushroom clouds? The Bush administration marshalled fear to push a foreign policy designed long before 9/11. Let's not pretend that Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz are a pack of humanitarians.  

By Blogger Gordon Smith, at Fri May 26, 04:54:00 PM:


Do you expect us all to forget how many times Bush and his team repeated the threat of WMD? Without this consistent drumbeat, this war never would have happened.

Perhaps, had Bush come to the country saying that various intel reports had varying degrees of concern re: WMD but that our central purpose would be to free the people of Iraq, WMD or not, then we wouldn't be having this conversation. But the facts remain that Team Bush pushed the danger angle above all others and in the face of many intel assessments.

sirius, please. Yes, Bush mentioned how nice it would be to free the Iraqis, but let's not pretend that this war would have gotten an iota of support in Congress or from a majority of Americans if not for the fear-mongering.

If you need more information, try googling Bush justifications for war in Iraq and see what you find.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Fri May 26, 07:12:00 PM:

Wow, I love being ignored.

"Do you expect us all to forget how many times Bush and his team repeated the threat of WMD? Without this consistent drumbeat, this war never would have happened."

No, and you're right. I watched Colin Powell's presentation before the UN. I also remember other powers voicing support, and our opponents (sans Syria, who 90% has their own secret WMD stock) being careful to not say that Iraq *didn't* have chemical or biological weapons. I wonder why. Could it be that they all thought Iraq had them? No... that would be logical.

Oh yeah. I almost forgot to mention that members of the Clinton administration and other prominent Democrats *also* claimed that Iraq had WMD's all the way up to 2003. Were they part of this 'fear-mongering conspiracy' as well?


My favorite: "We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." -Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"The "left" wants to assure that the mistakes made that led us into this unnecessary war of choice aren't repeated, that if our nation chooses war, they are given the right information to make the right choices."

This is silly. I read this as nation=public. The public does not (and should never) make policy. As long as you are a member of the public, you will never know the whole story. Ever. Such decisions are made by political leaders in the executive and legislative bodies, who *are* privy to the whole story. Or at least as much as is known. And if you did mean that nation=political leadership, then they did have all the information available, making your statement pointless.

'Unnecessary war of choice.' How charmingly pacifist. Also irrational. Name a war that wasn't an 'unecessary war of choice.' People choose to go to war because the consequences otherwise are unacceptable to them. The Civil War was an unecessary war of choice, deliberately provoked by President Lincoln using the Star of the West (a ship). The powers in the World Wars knew what they were getting into; France and Britain did not have to declare war on Germany, they chose to in both cases. Likewise with the Napoleonic wars, the War of 1812, the Russo-Japanese War, and so forth.

"The Bush administration has lied and obfuscated their way into utter untrustworthiness. There is no reason to believe they will alter their pattern of incompetence, intimidation, and misinformation."

Strong words with lots of meaning used in the most general ways possible = blustering. If the administration was really as deceptive and evil as you claim, they never would have owned up to any of their mistakes or leaked classified policies and people would have started disappearing or suddenly altering their stories. Develop a list of lies and victims of intimidation and I might take you seriously.

And I think you meant "disinformation."

"Perhaps, had Bush come to the country saying that various intel reports had varying degrees of concern re: WMD but that our central purpose would be to free the people of Iraq, WMD or not, then we wouldn't be having this conversation."

Couldn't be done that way, even if that's how he really felt, because of the geo-political implications. 'We're going to attack nation X because they pose a danger to us' is a universally acceptable principle because all states would like such rights themselves. 'We're going to attack nation X because they're not nice to their people' is not acceptable because it sets a precedent for future interference with ANY state that isn't nice to their people, including Cuba, Mexico, China, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, et cetera. Or, from an alternative perspective, the US, UK, France, Netherlands, Greece...

A-ha! I was about to end this post when I found this, a reference to my earlier post above that I bitched about being ignored.

Quotation: "According to The Nation's David Corn, Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction make up “one of the administration’s Big Lies of the war on Iraq.” Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin goes further, asserting that American soldiers sent to rid Iraq of WMDs have been killed for a lie: “George Bush told lies and they died.” The fashionable leftist bumper sticker parrots that theme: “GW Lied; GI’s Died.”

For Corn, Breslin and the rest of Left, these claims are becoming harder and harder to sustain. They require, for instance, glossing over last month’s report that Polish troops in Iraq uncovered warheads believed to contain Sarin or mustard gas, exploding the notion that Saddam’s regime had fully dispensed of its chemical weapons. Later tests revealed the truth was graver yet: the warheads contained Cyclosarin, an agent far more toxic than Sarin.

These are not the only chemical weapons thus far found in Iraq. Hans Blix, the former UN weapons inspector who opposed military intervention, has conceded that in the run-up to the war, his inspection team found 16 Iraqi warheads marked for use with Sarin. Meantime, the Iraq Survey Group, an outfit tasked with searching for WMD, has confirmed that a roadside bomb detonated in May near a U.S. military convoy was also packed with Sarin nerve agent. That bomb, reports the ISG, is one 550, for which Saddam Hussein failed to account prior to the war." End Quotation.

Not one of the articles I had in mind, but it'll do.


By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Fri May 26, 07:30:00 PM:

*levels another volley*



Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Acknowledged Iraq Breached The 1991 Armistice Agreement By Refusing To Destroy Its Stockpiles Of Weapons. REID: "We stopped the fighting [in 1991] based on an agreement that Iraq would take steps to assure the world that it would not engage in further aggression and that it would destroy its weapons of mass destruction. It has refused to take those steps. That refusal constitutes a breach of the armistice which renders it void and justifies resumption of the armed conflict." (Sen. Harry Reid, Congressional Record, 10/9/02)

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.): "We Have Known For Many Years That Saddam Hussein Is Seeking And Developing Weapons Of Mass Destruction." (Sen. Edward Kennedy, Remarks At Johns Hopkins School Of Advanced International Studies, 10/27/02)

Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) Announced In 2002 That Within Five Years Saddam Would Possess "Tactical Or Theater Nuclear Weapons." BIDEN: "My view is if five years from now Saddam Hussein is in power, left unfettered with $5 billion to $7 billion a year to pursue his weapons, he will be a grave danger to us, in the sense that he will intimidate the area and we will be unwilling to go after him because he'll have tactical or theater nuclear weapons." (CNN's Larry King Live, 10/9/02)

Clinton Insisted Saddam Sat Atop The List Of "Predators Of The 21st Century." CLINTON: "[T]his is not a time free from peril, especially as a result of reckless acts of outlaw nations and an unholy axis of terrorists, drug traffickers and organized international criminals. We have to defend our future from these predators of the 21st century, ... [T]hey will be all the more lethal if we allow them to build arsenals of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. We simply cannot allow that to happen. There is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein's Iraq. His regime threatens the safety of his people, the stability of his region and the security of all the rest of us." (Bill Clinton, Remarks At The Pentagon, 2/17/98)

I'm particularly amused that President Clinton used the phrase here, "unholy axis."

Visit the link for more. There are plenty.  

By Blogger Gordon Smith, at Fri May 26, 09:47:00 PM:

{Dawnfire, I've certainly been known to bluster. It's a dramatic weakness of mine. Selah.}

Much of the intelligence suggested that Iraq, in fact, had WMD. But much of the intelligence suggested the opposite, and the Bush administration was willing to pluck out only the facts that would convince you there was no doubt. The Bush administration lied by (a) omitting dissenting intelligence voices; (b) misrepresenting the facts. Here's an example:

President Bush said, "In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq's military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents...This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and capable of killing millions."

"President Bush failed to disclose, however, that this same defector reported to U.N. inspectors that Iraq had destroyed all of its chemical and biological weapons stocks"

Of course they were never accounted for. They were destroyed. The Bush administration knew this, and they scared people with a half-truth anyway. There's really no getting around the fact that the Bush administration, in the wake of the national nightmare of 9/11, whipped people's fear and nationalism into a lather with a series of dubious claims that proved false, invaded a soveriegn nation which, whether full of baddies, was in no way a threat to the United States.  

By Blogger Gordon Smith, at Fri May 26, 09:54:00 PM:


dKos just linked to this compendium of Bush, Powell, Cheney, Rumsfeld quotes about Bush's purposes for invading Iraq.

Just go watch and listen.

Then come back and tell me all about my denial.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sat May 27, 09:27:00 AM:

My connection is too poor to watch and listen.


Hussein Kamal's "we got rid of all our WMDs" statements never materialized until February 2003 in a Newsweek report. (conveniently for anti-war folks) CIA spokesman Bill Harlow angrily denied the Newsweek report. "It is incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue," Harlow told Reuters the day the report appeared.

Isn't this the CIA that Bush supposedly ignored in his mad rush to go to war?

"Importantly, Kamel maintained that Iraq had destroyed its weapons of mass destruction and related programs after the end of the first Gulf War. "I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons—biological, chemical, missile, nuclear—were destroyed." [2] Britain's Foreign Office has stated that they disbelieved this claim, while a March 3, 2003 Newsweek report said that Kamel's revelations were "hushed up" because inspectors "hoped to bluff Saddam [Hussein] into revealing still more." [3] Kamel's version of events appear to have been borne out in the wake of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq."

So Kamal said that there were no WMDs in Iraq anymore? Then why was the UN trying to bluff Saddam into revealing them? That's a pretty clear indicator that they weren't convinced. And why does this:

"The defection appears to have had a psychological impact in Baghdad due to uncertainty over what Kamel would reveal: soon afterwards, inspectors were invited to visit previously unseen weapons sites and new documents were turned over for examination."

not make sense? If there weren't any, why wasn't there already disclosure? Why were the inspectors then shut out again in 1998 after asking for access to certain sites?

Then, of course, you have to reconcile this with the "chemical weapons were both found and used against coalition troops" information I already gave in this thread. I know people who personally saw them. It's not a rumor.

The whole episode stinks of misinformation indeed. But not the kind you would prefer.

Here is a link to a Frontline report, dated 1999 and therefore untainted by modern politics, that claims that Kamal's defection actually informed the UN inspectors of the size and scope of the Iraqi (spec. biological) weapons program. Suddenly the Iraqis began to 'discover' WMD material that they 'didn't know about.'

"Well, it became apparent that he had hidden an extraordinary amount of material, and from that point on UNSCOM was, again, a going concern... It put the U.N. weapons program back on track."



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