Friday, December 23, 2005
Known Facts™, as you may well know, are things which are not really facts at all, but are clung to by the left with all the force and tenacity of runaway religious fervor. It is common for conservatives to express amazement at how liberals come to believe in ridiculous things like War-for-Halliburton, and even more, to simply assume that the rest of the world shares in their delusion. If you ever ask a liberal to provide you with evidence for one of these bizarre conspiracy theories, they will likely respond in amazment, "Everyone knows that - it's a Known Fact™ that (Bush lied, we went to Iraq for oil, or whatever the liberal conspiracy theory du jour might happen to be). It's less often analyzed how these Known Facts™ come to be, but the recent bru-ha-ha over the NSA wiretaps is slowly but surely giving birth to another Known Fact™ - namely, the Known Fact™ that Bush broke the law by authorizing these NSA wiretaps. We are therefore provided with a unique opportunity to study the phenomenon as it occurs.
Phase one generally involves the media. Whenever a story comes out that might possibly shed negative light on a Republican, and most especially George W. Bush, you can expect the media to sensationalize the information and interpret what little is known in the worst possible light. Thus, a program in which computers sift through the international telephone calls of known Al Qaeda operatives for certain key words gives birth to ludicrious headlines like, "Bush authorizes spying on Americans," complete with the obligatory "Specter calls for investigations."
With Phase two, the partisan liberals (insofar as they are distinguishable from the media) kick in, as they set about to prove this interpretation of the facts. After all, this seems like the kind of thing they'd expect from Bush, it's consistent with the picture they have painted in their own minds of "King George," and so the more intellectually lazy liberals will simply assume it is true without further evidence and move on with their lives. Some of the more industrious liberals will actually take things a step farther, and try to produce evidence to back up their claim. Thus, you have folks like Glenn Greenwald, who, so far as I can tell, is the only lefty even trying to produce evidence of any actual lawbreaking by Bush anymore.
Phase three begins when disinterested experts like Richard Posner and Cass Sunstein (who is, by all rational accounts, a giant in liberal legal circles) take the time to actually do real research into the situation. Posner has actively declared that the Bush administration's policy has not gone far enough in gathering domestic intelligence, and even Sunstein is forced to admit that the Bush administration's justification for this program is "plausible," and that if FISA conflicts with the President's Article II authority, then FISA itself might just be unconstitutional!
For most rational people, at this point, the argument dies and they move on with their lives. However, the media is generally never bothered to print a retraction, and certainly nothing on the level of the furor that was generated over the original story. The lazy liberals continue to repeat the contentions of the few liberals who did any homework whatsoever, even after that homework has been largely discredited - discounting all contrary evidence as part of a NeoCon PNAC conspiracy that probably involves the Freemasons and Knights Templar if you only dig down deep enough. The fact that you have to shoehorn guys like Posner and Sunstein into such a bizarre conspiracy group is irrelevant - the only important fact is what everybody "knows" really happened - the evil Chimpy McBushitlerburton broke the law and spied on American citizens. They "know" that this happened because it is consistent with their neverending, burning hatred of Bush, and their vision of him as the boogeyman who lurks in their closet, just waiting to throw all Democrats and Liberals in jail and send them off to forced labor for Halliburton in the West Texas desert.
What do you mean, you want evidence? They're only telling you a Known Fact™.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
What makes this president think he can invade the privacy of Americans without a warrant?
I don't know. Could it be the powers, long recognized by federal law, to:
Detain American citizens for investigative purposes without a warrant;
Arrest American citizens, based on probable cause, without a warrant;
Conduct a warrantless search of the person of an American citizen who has been detained, with or without a warrant;
Conduct a warrantless search of the home of an American citizen in order to secure the premises while a warrant is being obtained;
Conduct a warrantless search of, and seize, items belonging to American citizens that are displayed in plain view and that are obviously criminal or dangerous in nature;
Conduct a warrantless search of anything belonging to an American citizen under exigent circumstances if considerations of public safety make obtaining a warrant impractical;
Conduct a warrantless search of an American citizen's home and belongings if another person, who has apparent authority over the premises, consents;
Conduct a warrantless search of an American citizen's car anytime there is probable cause to believe it contains contraband or any evidence of a crime;
Conduct a warrantless search of any closed container inside the car of an American citizen if there is probable cause to search the car — regardless of whether there is probable cause to search the container itself;
Conduct a warrantless search of any property apparently abandoned by an American citizen;
Conduct a warrantless search of any property of an American citizen that has lawfully been seized in order to create an inventory and protect police from potential hazards or civil claims;
Conduct a warrantless search — including a strip search — at the border of any American citizen entering or leaving the United States;
Conduct a warrantless search at the border of the baggage and other property of any American citizen entering or leaving the United States;
Conduct a warrantless search of any American citizen seeking to enter a public building;
Conduct a warrantless search of random Americans at police checkpoints established for public-safety purposes (such as to detect and discourage drunk driving);
Conduct warrantless monitoring of common areas frequented by American citizens;
Conduct warrantless searches of American citizens and their vessels on the high seas;
Conduct warrantless monitoring of any telephone call or conversation of an American citizen as long as one participant in the conversation has consented to the monitoring;
Conduct warrantless searches of junkyards maintained by American citizens;
Conduct warrantless searches of docks maintained by American citizens;
Conduct warrantless searches of bars or nightclubs owned by American citizens to police underage drinking;
Conduct warrantless searches of auto-repair shops operated by American citizens;
Conduct warrantless searches of the books of American gem dealers in order to discourage traffic in stolen goods;
Conduct warrantless drug screening of American citizens working in government, emergency services, the transportation industry, and nuclear plants;
Conduct warrantless drug screening of American citizens who are school officials;
Conduct warrantless drug screening of American citizens who are school students;
Conduct warrantless searches of American citizens who are on bail, probation or parole.
These could conceivably be some of the things that the president is thinking about, though certainly not all. I neglected, after all, to mention the long-established "inherent authority" of the president to "conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information," recognized by federal appeals courts and assumed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review in 2002.
Where does this president get such crazy ideas? Obviously, he should be impeached.
Monday, December 19, 2005
I’m an excellent multitasker, and often times I do some of my best thinking when I’m doing four things at once. Such was the case the other day at work, the day of the Iraqi elections. Like everyone else I had been reading the news reports, and also the naysaying coming from the Democrats. I was amazed at how a party could be so unified in its contempt for George W. Bush that they could work feverishly to downplay one of the most significant accomplishments of any president since the collapse of the Soviet Union. I mean, politics is politics, and the elections are coming up next year, but this is different. What could their motivation be? And then it hit me.
The last major war the United States was involved in was Vietnam. The modern Democratic Party leadership all came of age during that war, as did most of the editorial staff in the manistream media. It wasn’t just a defining moment in the modern American left, it was the defining moment, the prism through which the left would view the world from that moment on. Vietnam was justification for every pacifist tendency that every liberal has ever had. When they said that war didn’t solve anything, they could point to Vietnam. When they wanted to show the consequences of war, they could point to Vietnam. When they wanted to show the failure of military force as a tool for political change, they could point to Vietnam. It was the last major war this country was ever involved in. Sure we’ve had military operations, from Grenada to the Gulf War to the Balkans, but Vietnam our last big one, and it was a war we ended up losing. Vietnam has been their de facto answer for everything for the past 30 years.
Iraq threatens their entire belief system.
Look at it from their point of view. We now face an enemy such as this country has never faced before. There have been and will continue to be legitimate differences of opinion on how to prosecute that war. Shortly after 9/11, when the United States went into Afghanistan, the left immediately hauled out all their old Vietnam-era anti-war slogans and rhetoric. And why not? The last big war was a loss in large part due to the political activism of the American left. These were tried-and-true methods of getting out the left-wing message. Then, when the controversial decision was made to go into Iraq, the anti-war left was at a fever pitch. How many stickers on how many cars have we seen the last few years saying “War is NOT the answer!” Think about that for a minute. It doesn’t say that this particular war is not the answer in this particular instance, it makes a blanket condemnation of war under any circumstances. This position is only tenable because our last full-scale military conflict, Vietnam, was a loser. 58,000 Americans lost their lives for nothing, which they feel is a strong argument towards their proposition that war doesn’t solve anything. The Korean war was a draw, and WWII was a winner, but only our grandparents and great grandparents were around to experience that one. Vietnam is all the left has in their corner.
Let’s assume that this election is, indeed, a crossroads for Iraq. That from here on, with a constitution of their own design an a government of their own choosing, and a military capable of defending that government and the Iraqi people from Islamist forces, Iraq will surely grow bigger and stronger and more independent. In short, from the ruin of an authoritarian regime comes the font of democracy, and a new nation is born. I mean, think about this for a second. If someone had come to you in the mid 1990s and says that a decade from now there was going to be a functioning democracy in the Middle East, you would have laughed in their face. Not only a democracy, mind you, but an Arab democracy comprising three main ethnic and religious groups. One where women have the right of the vote. It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? What an amazing achievement.
The Democrats can see the writing on the wall. They know that if we stick around and maintain our will there is no way we can lose this conflict. We shall prevail! And that idea is terrifying to the Democrats and the rest of the American left. Why? Because it shows that war CAN solve problems. That with our overwhelming technical skill we can invade and secure just about any other country in the world, and not only that, but we can get a democratically elected government in place within just a few years.
War never solved anything? My fat ass it didn’t. In the last four years two wars have liberated two countries, and we are in the process of getting those countries on their way to prosperity and self-sufficience. In terms of the cost of life, especially when you look at the numbers for previous wars, we have suffered quite a low number. While the death of any man or woman is tragic, they should be honored to the fullest for their sacrifice to this nation, and to the people of Iraq.
The Democrats and the left cannot have this. The US has been in the “lose” column for so long now, That’s been one of their main sources of political strength. They must prevent, at all costs, the US from getting to a point where this was can be chalked up as a win. If we get a win then we negate the rallying cry of Vietnam. The next time a war is proposed and someone mentions Vietnam, we can point to Iraq as an example of just how many legitimate problems war can solve. Conversely, if they can get Iraq declared a loss, then they’ll have a patten. “We’re two for two!” So the next time someone proposes military force, the lefties will get to pull out Iraq and Vietnam. Their message will get new life breathed into it for the next forty years.
This is why they will stop at nothing to prevent President Bush from winning this war. A win in Iraq means that their whole “War Solves Nothing” argument becomes virtually worthless, a relic of a bygone era. And that terrifies them.
Iraq must be a loss at all costs. The future of left-wing political activism is at stake
Friday, in a report that the White House asked not be published because it could jeopardize ongoing anti-terrorist operations, the Times revealed that in 2001 the president authorized the National Security Agency to collect intelligence from conversations routed through the United States and possibly including people within the United States. And the media feeding frenzy aimed at declaring George W. Bush a criminal started all over again.
It's pretty clear that NSA's domestic intelligence gathering was -- and is -- legal. But before we get to that, we have to set the context for this debate correctly, which is more than the Times, the Washington Post, or any of the other politico-media will do. We need only two data points to accomplish that.
First, the last time a war was fought on American soil, the president then didn't merely authorize intelligence gathering within our borders, he suspended the writ of habeas corpus for anyone held in military custody (even though we didn't yet have a base at Gitmo), and declared that anyone opposing the war would be tried and punished under martial law in military courts. Thank heaven that George Bush isn't as radical as Abraham Lincoln was when he signed that proclamation in September 1862. Or as radical as FDR was in interning Japanese citizens in World War II.
Second, the price of inaction in the war against terrorists is too high. We know, from Mansour Ijaz's accounts and from the admissions Clinton national security adviser Sandy Berger has made in several interviews, that the Clinton administration turned down Sudan's repeated 1996 offers of bin Laden on a silver platter because its lawyers didn't believe we had enough evidence to indict him in a U.S. court. Instead of telling the lawyers to find a way to put OBL out of business, the Clintons took the easy way out their lawyers had provided and let bin Laden get away. Now, we have a president who apparently tells his lawyers what Andrew Carnegie once told his.
In what may be an apocryphal story, 19th century industrial baron Carnegie, in a long meeting with his planning staff, endured a few "you can't do that" objections from a new lawyer. Carnegie took the young man into the hall and fed him a dose of reality: "Young man, I don't pay you to tell me what I can't do. I pay you to tell me how I can do what I want to do." And that sums up President Bush's approach to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
FISA requires that intelligence gathering regarding conversations to which "U.S. persons" are a party can only be done pursuant to a search warrant issued (usually in secret) by the special FISA court, made up of sitting U.S. district court judges and located in the Department of Justice building in Washington.
Second, the FISA court issues warrants based on findings of probable cause, like other U.S. courts issuing criminal search warrants. There are too many situations -- like the one we were in before 9-11 -- in which too many possible terrorists are talking to each other and their helpers to sort them out one by one and get individual warrants. Which is why the law, and the regulations that implement it, allow the Attorney General to bypass the FISA court.
The regulations implementing FISA clarify the law's exceptions to the requirements for a FISA court warrant. U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive, dated July 27, 1993, is the primary regulation governing NSA's operations. It is a secret document. (We at TAS, unlike the NYT, never, ever, disclose government secrets that may damage national security. What follows is taken from a declassified version obtained from an open source.)
Under Section 4 of USSID 18, communications which are known to be to or from U.S. Persons can't be intentionally intercepted without: (a) the approval of the FISA court is obtained; OR (b) the approval of the Attorney General of the United States with respect to "communications to or from US Persons outside the United States...international communications" and other categories of communications including for the purpose of collecting "significant foreign intelligence information."
USSID 18 goes on to allow NSA to gather intelligence about a U.S. person outside the United States even without Attorney General sanction in emergencies "when securing the approval of the Attorney General is not practical because...the time required to obtain such approval would result in the loss of significant foreign intelligence and would cause substantial harm to national security."
So FISA itself and USSID 18 provide a lot of swinging room for what the president ordered. If the people subjected to the intelligence gathering weren't "U.S. persons," if Attorney General Gonzales made certain findings (which he did, according to several accounts) and if the NSA went ahead because it reasonably believed it would lose significant foreign intelligence if it held its hand, the operation is legal. Period. Everyone who is ranting and raving about illegality has neither the facts (most of which we don't know) or the law and regulations (which weigh heavily in favor of legality) on their side.
In his Saturday radio address, the president said that the NSA program he authorized has been reviewed over and over, and reauthorized by him more than three dozen times:
The activities I authorized are reviewed approximately every 45 days. Each review is based on a fresh intelligence assessment of terrorist threats to the continuity of our government and the threat of catastrophic damage to our homeland. During each assessment, previous activities under the authorization are reviewed. The review includes approval by our nation's top legal officials, including the Attorney General and the Counsel to the President. I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups.
Illegal? I don't think so. A good idea? No, a great idea. Many of the congressional Dems whining the loudest about the president breaking the law (such as Sen. Carl Levin, ranking Dem on the Armed Services Committee) were almost certainly among those who were briefed repeatedly on the program since it began in 2001. In short, the Dems' objections are as hollow as the people shouting them to the television cameras. Let Congress ask its questions, and answer some as well. (Such as why weren't they concerned about this when they were briefed on it four years ago?) But let the intelligence be gathered.
America has lived in the shadow of 9-11 for more than four years. Everyone expects more terrorist attacks on our shores, but none has yet occurred. One reason for that is probably the NSA domestic intelligence gathering program.
We can do a lot, and must do it all. Spying on aliens and some "U.S. persons" here in accordance with the law, asking our allies to spy on Americans overseas, sharing intelligence gathered abroad with law enforcement authorities here, and much more. Our Constitution and laws set broad bounds for intelligence gathering. We should do everything within those bounds. Everything.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Yesterday, the leader of the major American opposition party called the war in Iraq "unwinnable", compared the supposed scandal over intelligence -- the same intel that Congress had seen since the Clinton administration -- with Watergate, and issued a demand that Bush immediately withdraw half of the forces in Iraq -- and yet the major newspapers could not be bothered to write their own articles about the story or include it in their print versions today. Neither the NY Times nor the Washington Post gave any kind of comprehensive report to Howard Dean's shrieking for retreat and surrender, nor to his ridiculous notion of how to fight against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as told to WOAI radio in San Antonio:
Saying the "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong," Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean predicted today that the Democratic Party will come together on a proposal to withdraw National Guard and Reserve troops immediately, and all US forces within two years. ...
"I think we need a strategic redeployment over a period of two years," Dean said. "Bring the 80,000 National Guard and Reserve troops home immediately. They don't belong in a conflict like this anyway. We ought to have a redeployment to Afghanistan of 20,000 troops, we don't have enough troops to do the job there and its a place where we are welcome. And we need a force in the Middle East, not in Iraq but in a friendly neighboring country to fight (terrorist leader Musab) Zarqawi, who came to Iraq after this invasion. We've got to get the target off the backs of American troops.
Dean didn't specify which country the US forces would deploy to, but he said he would like to see the entire process completed within two years. He said the Democrat proposal is not a 'withdrawal,' but rather a 'strategic redeployment' of U.S. forces.
First, from these comments Dean makes clear that he has no idea of the difference between a strategic redeployment and running away. The former refers to a rearrangement of tactical positioning, including tactical retreat in some cases, in order to regain the initiative for a bigger push later on. "Redeployment" by disengagement with no intent to return to the battlefield has another term in military parlance: full retreat. Dean also exposes his utter lack of comprehension of the situation in Southwest Asia when he suggests that we can easily find a "friendly nation" to host 80,000 American troops while our country lacks the political will to allow them to fight. Exactly who will want to board Americans when the terrorists come after us in our new bivouac? And would Dean and the Democrats allow them to fight then, or will they claim that we're still the root cause of the terrorist activity and give up the Middle East altogether?
Dr. Dean, which country would sign up for that duty? The only nations large enough to host 80,000 American troops would be Turkey (which won't do it), Kuwait (which is on the wrong side of Iraq to easily address the issues in the west and center of Iraq), and Saudi Arabia (which is where we supposedly offended the Islamofascists initially).
Most laughably, the leader of the Democrats and the man responsible for coordinating their electoral efforts then claims that by pulling American troops out of Iraq and outside of the range of Zarqawi, we'll be better prepared to fight the insurgents -- even though we will no longer have assets on the ground gathering intelligence and conducting the kinds of patrols necessary to find and engage the enemy on our terms. Instead, Zarqawi will simply start taking over towns like Falluja and Ramadi all over again and operating in the open to spread his lunatic Islamofascism across central Iraq.
The embarassment of Dean's military analysis would make clear that the Democrats have no business conducting foreign affairs and national security for the US in this age of Islamofascist terrorism. That's why the newspapers buried Dean's comments on their web sites. They had plenty of time to write their own copy, or at least to include the AP story in their print edition. However, the NYT and the Washington Post obviously hope that Dean's comments get quickly forgotten. (The Los Angeles Times doesn't bother to mention it at all, despite the longer lead time for their newspaper.)
Perhaps this comes as no surprise -- it doesn't surprise me -- but the national media has long since decided it needs to downplay Dean if the Democrats are to survive 2006. The Democrats still haven't gotten the same message.
The Right-Wing Attack Machine is at it again. Over the weekend, esteemed Senator, decorated war hero, and rightful inhabitant of the White House, John Fitzgerald Kerry spoke candidly on Face the Nation about the hopeless quagmire in Iraq, and why our troops are such heartless bastards.
“There is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the -- of -- of -- of -- historical customs, religious customs, whether you like it or not. Iraqis should be doing that.”
It’s all pretty cut and dry, and certainly nothing we haven’t heard from other Democrat leaders and high-ranking members of Al-Qaeda for months now. But before the program was even over, the right-wing blogosphere exploded with typical hate-filled bile, ignoring the crux of the interview to dwell on one or two little lines that were spoken completely off the cuff and shouldn’t be taken literally. Chickenhawk Hannity, Fatty McFatso, and Fraulein “Hooray for Internment Camps” Malkin all got their digs in, resorting to the same old playbook they’ve been using for years. By constantly spinning the senator’s nuanced statements to mean what he actually says, the fascists of conservative punditry intend to "Murtha” Sen. Kerry by forcing him to be held accountable for every tidbit of wisdom that spews forth from his stately blowhole. But John Kerry won’t be bullied. Anyone doubting his authority on the quagmire in Iraq need only remember that Rush Limbaugh had anal cysts in 1965.
Despite what republican radio hacks want us to believe, Sen. Kerry is absolutely correct: the U.S. government is indeed ordering jackbooted squads of armed goons to bust down the doors of private residences and terrorize women and children – actions that are entirely inexcusable unless done to reunite nice little Cuban boys with their loving Uncle Fidel. During these nightly raids, Muslim customs such as the ceremonial greasing of the sacred yak are completely ignored, and large collections of priceless weaponry and improvised explosives are confiscated without recompense. But perhaps out of his unwavering reverence for our brave soldiers who are merely unwitting pawns in Bush’s war games, John Kerry did not expand on all the details of our military’s campaign of terror against the innocent children of Iraq.
In addition to their barbaric stormtrooper tactics, U.S troops have been waging a highly documented guerilla war on the children of Iraq for some time. Inhuman atrocities are committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. Large numbers of soldiers have been known to descend on small Iraqi villages like packs of wild dogs, forcing unsuspecting children to wear second hand or off-the-rack clothing in a fashion reminiscent of Jingus K-mart. Many children are subjected to bizarre medical experiments and given mysterious injections. Countless more suffer unexplainable weight gain and, in rare circumstances, borderline chubbiness.
The coalition forces want desperately to paint a rosy picture of their horrifying activities. As these staged photographs suggest, many children laugh and sing at the arrival of troops, perhaps out of fear for what might befall them should they express the true, unbridled hatred that most Iraqis and half the population of Massachusetts have for our military. But as soon as the cameras are off, the innocent laughter turns to blood-curdling screams as the unsuspecting children are herded into small, non-descript buildings, where they are held against their will for several hours a day and brainwashed with pro-western propaganda. As helpless parents look on, crayons and construction paper are shoved into the tiny hands of their crying sons and daughters, who are forced to produce variety of arts and crafts with virtually no pay or health benefits. Finally, once the tots have been thoroughly “re-educated”, they are hastily ground up and fed to blacks in New Orleans.
It’s enough to make anyone sick to their stomach, but John Kerry has seen it all before. He fought to bring an end to similar atrocities in Southeast Asia, and in return for his patriotism he was assailed by GOP attack dogs like the Hateboat Haters of Hate, a group of Bush lackeys who claimed to have served with Kerry in Vietnam yet never once sat on his lap and called him “Daddy”. John Kerry volunteered for four years in the military so he could spend the next forty attacking it with impunity, and he won’t be intimidated by those who “had better things to do” than hook cell phones up to human genitals and turn up the power when their country called.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
I am putting up a post that if any of my liberal weenie friends have the courage to read in its entirety (Take you meds for adult ADD) will for the first time have no reason to maintain anti-Bush, anti Conservative, pro Cindy Sheehan stance. At least they won't if they actually have any intellectual honesty.
The piece is sourced and footnoted. It is based on fact, without the hysterical bleating of the Main Stream Media's lens of conservative hate.
The only other thing I can say is that I wish I had written this.
Who Is Lying About Iraq?
Among the many distortions, misrepresentations, and outright falsifications that have emerged from the debate over Iraq, one in particular stands out above all others. This is the charge that George W. Bush misled us into an immoral and/or unnecessary war in Iraq by telling a series of lies that have now been definitively exposed.
What makes this charge so special is the amazing success it has enjoyed in getting itself established as a self-evident truth even though it has been refuted and discredited over and over again by evidence and argument alike. In this it resembles nothing so much as those animated cartoon characters who, after being flattened, blown up, or pushed over a cliff, always spring back to life with their bodies perfectly intact. Perhaps, like those cartoon characters, this allegation simply cannot be killed off, no matter what.
Nevertheless, I want to take one more shot at exposing it for the lie that it itself really is. Although doing so will require going over ground that I and many others have covered before, I hope that revisiting this well-trodden terrain may also serve to refresh memories that have grown dim, to clarify thoughts that have grown confused, and to revive outrage that has grown commensurately dulled.
The main “lie” that George W. Bush is accused of telling us is that Saddam Hussein possessed an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, or WMD as they have invariably come to be called. From this followed the subsidiary “lie” that Iraq under Saddam’s regime posed a two-edged mortal threat. On the one hand, we were informed, there was a distinct (or even “imminent”) possibility that Saddam himself would use these weapons against us and/or our allies; and on the other hand, there was the still more dangerous possibility that he would supply them to terrorists like those who had already attacked us on 9/11 and to whom he was linked.
This entire scenario of purported deceit has been given a new lease on life by the indictment in late October of I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, then chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby stands accused of making false statements to the FBI and of committing perjury in testifying before a grand jury that had been convened to find out who in the Bush administration had “outed” Valerie Plame, a CIA agent married to the retired ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, IV. The supposed purpose of leaking this classified information to the press was to retaliate against Wilson for having “debunked” (in his words) “the lies that led to war.”
Now, as it happens, Libby was not charged with having outed Plame but only with having lied about when and from whom he first learned that she worked for the CIA. Moreover, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor who brought the indictment against him, made a point of emphasizing that
[t]his indictment is not about the war. This indictment is not about the propriety of the war. And people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel.
This is simply an indictment that says, in a national-security investigation about the compromise of a CIA officer’s identity that may have taken place in the context of a very heated debate over the war, whether some person—a person, Mr. Libby—lied or not.
No matter. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, spoke for a host of other opponents of the war in insisting that
[t]his case is bigger than the leak of classified information. It is about how the Bush White House manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq and to discredit anyone who dared to challenge the President.
Yet even stipulating—which I do only for the sake of argument—that no weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq in the period leading up to the invasion, it defies all reason to think that Bush was lying when he asserted that they did. To lie means to say something one knows to be false. But it is as close to certainty as we can get that Bush believed in the truth of what he was saying about WMD in Iraq.
How indeed could it have been otherwise? George Tenet, his own CIA director, assured him that the case was “a slam dunk.” This phrase would later become notorious, but in using it, Tenet had the backing of all fifteen agencies involved in gathering intelligence for the United States. In the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of 2002, where their collective views were summarized, one of the conclusions offered with “high confidence” was that
Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear, and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions.
The intelligence agencies of Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Israel, and—yes—France all agreed with this judgment. And even Hans Blix—who headed the UN team of inspectors trying to determine whether Saddam had complied with the demands of the Security Council that he get rid of the weapons of mass destruction he was known to have had in the past—lent further credibility to the case in a report he issued only a few months before the invasion:
The discovery of a number of 122-mm chemical rocket warheads in a bunker at a storage depot 170 km southwest of Baghdad was much publicized. This was a relatively new bunker, and therefore the rockets must have been moved there in the past few years, at a time when Iraq should not have had such munitions. . . . They could also be the tip of a submerged iceberg. The discovery of a few rockets does not resolve but rather points to the issue of several thousands of chemical rockets that are unaccounted for.
Blix now claims that he was only being “cautious” here, but if, as he now also adds, the Bush administration “misled itself” in interpreting the evidence before it, he at the very least lent it a helping hand.
So, once again, did the British, the French, and the Germans, all of whom signed on in advance to Secretary of State Colin Powell’s reading of the satellite photos he presented to the UN in the period leading up to the invasion. Powell himself and his chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, now feel that this speech was the low point of his tenure as Secretary of State. But Wilkerson (in the process of a vicious attack on the President, the Vice President, and the Secretary of Defense for getting us into Iraq) is forced to acknowledge that the Bush administration did not lack for company in interpreting the available evidence as it did:
I can’t tell you why the French, the Germans, the Brits, and us thought that most of the material, if not all of it, that we presented at the UN on 5 February 2003 was the truth. I can’t. I’ve wrestled with it. [But] when you see a satellite photograph of all the signs of the chemical-weapons ASP—Ammunition Supply Point—with chemical weapons, and you match all those signs with your matrix on what should show a chemical ASP, and they’re there, you have to conclude that it’s a chemical ASP, especially when you see the next satellite photograph which shows the UN inspectors wheeling in their white vehicles with black markings on them to that same ASP, and everything is changed, everything is clean. . . . But George [Tenet] was convinced, John McLaughlin [Tenet’s deputy] was convinced, that what we were presented [for Powell’s UN speech] was accurate.
Going on to shoot down a widespread impression, Wilkerson informs us that even the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) was convinced:
People say, well, INR dissented. That’s a bunch of bull. INR dissented that the nuclear program was up and running. That’s all INR dissented on. They were right there with the chems and the bios.
In explaining its dissent on Iraq’s nuclear program, the INR had, as stated in the NIE of 2002, expressed doubt about
Iraq’s efforts to acquire aluminum tubes [which are] central to the argument that Baghdad is reconstituting its nuclear-weapons program. . . . INR is not persuaded that the tubes in question are intended for use as centrifuge rotors . . . in Iraq’s nuclear-weapons program.
But, according to Wilkerson,
The French came in in the middle of my deliberations at the CIA and said, we have just spun aluminum tubes, and by God, we did it to this RPM, et cetera, et cetera, and it was all, you know, proof positive that the aluminum tubes were not for mortar casings or artillery casings, they were for centrifuges. Otherwise, why would you have such exquisite instruments?
In short, and whether or not it included the secret heart of Hans Blix, “the consensus of the intelligence community,” as Wilkerson puts it, “was overwhelming” in the period leading up to the invasion of Iraq that Saddam definitely had an arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, and that he was also in all probability well on the way to rebuilding the nuclear capability that the Israelis had damaged by bombing the Osirak reactor in 1981.
Additional confirmation of this latter point comes from Kenneth Pollack, who served in the National Security Council under Clinton. “In the late spring of 2002,” Pollack has written,
I participated in a Washington meeting about Iraqi WMD. Those present included nearly twenty former inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), the force established in 1991 to oversee the elimination of WMD in Iraq. One of the senior people put a question to the group: did anyone in the room doubt that Iraq was currently operating a secret centrifuge plant? No one did. Three people added that they believed Iraq was also operating a secret calutron plant (a facility for separating uranium isotopes).
No wonder, then, that another conclusion the NIE of 2002 reached with “high confidence” was that
Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires sufficient weapons-grade fissile material.1
But the consensus on which Bush relied was not born in his own administration. In fact, it was first fully formed in the Clinton administration. Here is Clinton himself, speaking in 1998:
If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-destruction program.
Here is his Secretary of State Madeline Albright, also speaking in 1998:
Iraq is a long way from [the USA], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risk that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.
Here is Sandy Berger, Clinton’s National Security Adviser, who chimed in at the same time with this flat-out assertion about Saddam:
He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.
Finally, Clinton’s Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, was so sure Saddam had stockpiles of WMD that he remained “absolutely convinced” of it even after our failure to find them in the wake of the invasion in March 2003.
Nor did leading Democrats in Congress entertain any doubts on this score. A few months after Clinton and his people made the statements I have just quoted, a group of Democratic Senators, including such liberals as Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, and John Kerry, urged the President
to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons-of-mass-destruction programs.
Nancy Pelosi, the future leader of the Democrats in the House, and then a member of the House Intelligence Committee, added her voice to the chorus:
Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons-of-mass-destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.
This Democratic drumbeat continued and even intensified when Bush succeeded Clinton in 2001, and it featured many who would later pretend to have been deceived by the Bush White House. In a letter to the new President, a number of Senators led by Bob Graham declared:
There is no doubt that . . . Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical, and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf war status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.
Senator Carl Levin also reaffirmed for Bush’s benefit what he had told Clinton some years earlier:
Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations, and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed, speaking in October 2002:
In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical- and biological-weapons stock, his missile-delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members.
Senator Jay Rockefeller, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, agreed as well:
There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. . . . We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.
Even more striking were the sentiments of Bush’s opponents in his two campaigns for the presidency. Thus Al Gore in September 2002:
We know that [Saddam] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.
And here is Gore again, in that same year:
Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.
Now to John Kerry, also speaking in 2002:
I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force—if necessary—to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.
Perhaps most startling of all, given the rhetoric that they would later employ against Bush after the invasion of Iraq, are statements made by Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd, also in 2002:
Kennedy: We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.
Byrd: The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical- and biological-warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons.2
Liberal politicians like these were seconded by the mainstream media, in whose columns a very different tune would later be sung. For example, throughout the last two years of the Clinton administration, editorials in the New York Times repeatedly insisted that
without further outside intervention, Iraq should be able to rebuild weapons and missile plants within a year [and] future military attacks may be required to diminish the arsenal again.
The Times was also skeptical of negotiations, pointing out that it was
hard to negotiate with a tyrant who has no intention of honoring his commitments and who sees nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons as his country’s salvation.
So, too, the Washington Post, which greeted the inauguration of George W. Bush in January 2001 with the admonition that
[o]f all the booby traps left behind by the Clinton administration, none is more dangerous—or more urgent—than the situation in Iraq. Over the last year, Mr. Clinton and his team quietly avoided dealing with, or calling attention to, the almost complete unraveling of a decade’s efforts to isolate the regime of Saddam Hussein and prevent it from rebuilding its weapons of mass destruction. That leaves President Bush to confront a dismaying panorama in the Persian Gulf [where] intelligence photos . . . show the reconstruction of factories long suspected of producing chemical and biological weapons.3
All this should surely suffice to prove far beyond any even unreasonable doubt that Bush was telling what he believed to be the truth about Saddam’s stockpile of WMD. It also disposes of the fallback charge that Bush lied by exaggerating or hyping the intelligence presented to him. Why on earth would he have done so when the intelligence itself was so compelling that it convinced everyone who had direct access to it, and when hardly anyone in the world believed that Saddam had, as he claimed, complied with the sixteen resolutions of the Security Council demanding that he get rid of his weapons of mass destruction?
Another fallback charge is that Bush, operating mainly through Cheney, somehow forced the CIA into telling him what he wanted to hear. Yet in its report of 2004, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, while criticizing the CIA for relying on what in hindsight looked like weak or faulty intelligence, stated that it
did not find any evidence that administration officials attempted to coerce, influence, or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities.
The March 2005 report of the equally bipartisan Robb-Silberman commission, which investigated intelligence failures on Iraq, reached the same conclusion, finding
no evidence of political pressure to influence the intelligence community’s pre-war assessments of Iraq’s weapons programs. . . . [A]nalysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments.
Still, even many who believed that Saddam did possess WMD, and was ruthless enough to use them, accused Bush of telling a different sort of lie by characterizing the risk as “imminent.” But this, too, is false: Bush consistently rejected imminence as a justification for war.4 Thus, in the State of the Union address he delivered only three months after 9/11, Bush declared that he would “not wait on events while dangers gather” and that he would “not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer.” Then, in a speech at West Point six months later, he reiterated the same point: “If we wait for threats to materialize, we will have waited too long.” And as if that were not clear enough, he went out of his way in his State of the Union address in 2003 (that is, three months before the invasion), to bring up the word “imminent” itself precisely in order to repudiate it:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.
What of the related charge that it was still another “lie” to suggest, as Bush and his people did, that a connection could be traced between Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda terrorists who had attacked us on 9/11? This charge was also rejected by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Contrary to how its findings were summarized in the mainstream media, the committee’s report explicitly concluded that al Qaeda did in fact have a cooperative, if informal, relationship with Iraqi agents working under Saddam. The report of the bipartisan 9/11 commission came to the same conclusion, as did a comparably independent British investigation conducted by Lord Butler, which pointed to “meetings . . . between senior Iraqi representatives and senior al-Qaeda operatives.”5
Which brings us to Joseph C. Wilson, IV and what to my mind wins the palm for the most disgraceful instance of all.
The story begins with the notorious sixteen words inserted—after, be it noted, much vetting by the CIA and the State Department—into Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address:
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
This is the “lie” Wilson bragged of having “debunked” after being sent by the CIA to Niger in 2002 to check out the intelligence it had received to that effect. Wilson would later angrily deny that his wife had recommended him for this mission, and would do his best to spread the impression that choosing him had been the Vice President’s idea. But Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, through whom Wilson first planted this impression, was eventually forced to admit that “Cheney apparently didn’t know that Wilson had been dispatched.” (By the time Kristof grudgingly issued this retraction, Wilson himself, in characteristically shameless fashion, was denying that he had ever “said the Vice President sent me or ordered me sent.”) And as for his wife’s supposed non-role in his mission, here is what Valerie Plame Wilson wrote in a memo to her boss at the CIA:
My husband has good relations with the PM [the prime minister of Niger] and the former minister of mines . . . , both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.
More than a year after his return, with the help of Kristof, and also Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, and then through an op-ed piece in the Times under his own name, Wilson succeeded, probably beyond his wildest dreams, in setting off a political firestorm.
In response, the White House, no doubt hoping to prevent his allegation about the sixteen words from becoming a proxy for the charge that (in Wilson’s latest iteration of it) “lies and disinformation [were] used to justify the invasion of Iraq,” eventually acknowledged that the President’s statement “did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union address.” As might have been expected, however, this panicky response served to make things worse rather than better. And yet it was totally unnecessary—for the maddeningly simple reason that every single one of the sixteen words at issue was true.
That is, British intelligence had assured the CIA that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy enriched uranium from the African country of Niger. Furthermore—and notwithstanding the endlessly repeated assertion that this assurance has now been discredited—Britain’s independent Butler commission concluded that it was “well-founded.” The relevant passage is worth quoting at length:
a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.
b. The British government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger’s exports, the intelligence was credible.
c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium, and the British government did not claim this.
As if that were not enough to settle the matter, Wilson himself, far from challenging the British report when he was “debriefed” on his return from Niger (although challenging it is what he now never stops doing6), actually strengthened the CIA’s belief in its accuracy. From the Senate Intelligence Committee report:
He [the CIA reports officer] said he judged that the most important fact in the report [by Wilson] was that Niger officials admitted that the Iraqi delegation had traveled there in 1999, and that the Niger prime minister believed the Iraqis were interested in purchasing uranium.
The report on [Wilson’s] trip to Niger . . . did not change any analysts’ assessments of the Iraq-Niger uranium deal. For most analysts, the information in the report lent more credibility to the original CIA reports on the uranium deal.
This passage goes on to note that the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research—which (as we have already seen) did not believe that Saddam Hussein was trying to develop nuclear weapons—found support in Wilson’s report for its “assessment that Niger was unlikely to be willing or able to sell uranium to Iraq.” But if so, this, as the Butler report quoted above points out, would not mean that Iraq had not tried to buy it—which was the only claim made by British intelligence and then by Bush in the famous sixteen words.
The liar here, then, was not Bush but Wilson. And Wilson also lied when he told the Washington Post that he had unmasked as forgeries certain documents given to American intelligence (by whom it is not yet clear) that supposedly contained additional evidence of Saddam’s efforts to buy uranium from Niger. The documents did indeed turn out to be forgeries; but, according to the Butler report,
[t]he forged documents were not available to the British government at the time its assessment was made, and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine [that assessment].7
More damning yet to Wilson, the Senate Intelligence Committee discovered that he had never laid eyes on the documents in question:
[Wilson] also told committee staff that he was the source of a Washington Post article . . . which said, “among the envoy’s conclusions was that the documents may have been forged because ‘the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.’” Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the “dates were wrong and the names were wrong” when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports.
To top all this off, just as Cheney had nothing to do with the choice of Wilson for the mission to Niger, neither was it true that, as Wilson “confirmed” for a credulous New Republic reporter, “the CIA circulated [his] report to the Vice President’s office,” thereby supposedly proving that Cheney and his staff “knew the Niger story was a flatout lie.” Yet—the mind reels—if Cheney had actually been briefed on Wilson’s oral report to the CIA (which he was not), he would, like the CIA itself, have been more inclined to believe that Saddam had tried to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger.
So much for the author of the best-selling and much acclaimed book whose title alone—The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity—has set a new record for chutzpah.
But there is worse. In his press conference on the indictment against Libby, Patrick Fitzgerald insisted that lying to federal investigators is a serious crime both because it is itself against the law and because, by sending them on endless wild-goose chases, it constitutes the even more serious crime of obstruction of justice. By those standards, Wilson—who has repeatedly made false statements about every aspect of his mission to Niger, including whose idea it was to send him and what he told the CIA upon his return; who was then shown up by the Senate Intelligence Committee as having lied about the forged documents; and whose mendacity has sent the whole country into a wild-goose chase after allegations that, the more they are refuted, the more they keep being repeated—is himself an excellent candidate for criminal prosecution.
And so long as we are hunting for liars in this area, let me suggest that we begin with the Democrats now proclaiming that they were duped, and that we then broaden out to all those who in their desperation to delegitimize the larger policy being tested in Iraq—the policy of making the Middle East safe for America by making it safe for democracy—have consistently used distortion, misrepresentation, and selective perception to vilify as immoral a bold and noble enterprise and to brand as an ignominious defeat what is proving itself more and more every day to be a victory of American arms and a vindication of American ideals.
—November 7, 2005
NORMAN PODHORETZ is the editor-at-large of COMMENTARY and the author of ten books. The most recent, The Norman Podhoretz Reader, edited by Thomas L. Jeffers, appeared in 2004. His essays on the Bush Doctrine and Iraq, including “World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win” (September 2004) and “The War Against World War IV” (February 2005), can be found by clicking here.
1 Hard as it is to believe, let alone to reconcile with his general position, Joseph C. Wilson, IV, in a speech he delivered three months after the invasion at the Education for Peace in Iraq Center, offhandedly made the following remark: “I remain of the view that we will find biological and chemical weapons and we may well find something that indicates that Saddam’s regime maintained an interest in nuclear weapons.”
2 Fuller versions of these and similar statements can be found at http://www.theconversationcafe.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-3134.htmland. Another source is http://www.rightwingnews.com/quotes/demsonwmds.php.
3 These and numerous other such quotations were assembled by Robert Kagan in a piece published in the Washington Post on October 25, 2005.
4 Whereas both John Edwards, later to become John Kerry’s running mate in 2004, and Jay Rockefeller, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, actually did use the word in describing the threat posed by Saddam.
5 In early November, the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who last year gave their unanimous assent to its report, were suddenly mounting a last-ditch effort to take it back on this issue (and others). But to judge from the material they had already begun leaking by November 7, when this article was going to press, the newest “Bush lied” case is as empty and dishonest as the one they themselves previously rejected.
6 Here is how he put it in a piece in the Los Angeles Times written in late October of this year to celebrate the indictment of Libby: “I knew that the statement in Bush’s speech . . . was not true. I knew it was false from my own investigative trip to Africa. . . . And I knew that the White House knew it.”
Friday, November 18, 2005
Democrat Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania took to the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday to call for an immediate pullout of American troops from Iraq. I'm told that Muslims don't drink. Perhaps so, but I'm betting that they were more than willing to throw down a cool one when this Democrat stood up in the U.S. Capitol to plead their case. Murtha was actually calling for the very thing that these Islamic radicals have been trying to accomplish with their campaign of terror against Iraqi citizens and coalition troops.
Somewhere in Iraq yesterday the word of Murtha's cut-and-run strategy reached the home of an Iraqi who had, up to now anyway, been supporting the new freely-elected government of Iraq. As soon as he heard this American lawmaker talk about an immediate pullout this Iraqi started rethinking his options. Perhaps, he thought, it might be better to show some support and allegiance to the insurgency. After all, if the Americans suddenly leave the insurgency will have control of the Iraqi government in no time at all. It would be better to be alive under the insurgency than to die for supporting the new Iraqi government.
Elsewhere in Iraq an American serviceman from Pennsylvania couldn't believe what he had heard. He has seen first-hand the successes of the American armed forces in Iraq. He has personally felt the warmth of the Iraqi people who have shown their appreciation for the efforts of the Americans and their coalition partners. He has seen Iraqis with running water who have never had running water before, Iraqi children going to schools that didn't exist under Saddam. He knows what has been accomplished, and now he hears about this Democrat calling for him and his fellow soldiers to leave --- not when the job is finished, but right now.
And .... somewhere in Iraq, and in Syria, and in Iran, and in Jordan, and in Saudi Arabia, Murtha's words reached the ears of the Islamic terrorists themselves. Last week Democrats were calling for a timetable. This week they have Democrats calling for an immediate withdrawal. They view this as nothing short than an immense victory. They know what they must now do. They must step up the campaign. Strap bombs on more suicide bombers, plant more roadside devices. They have their hated non-believer enemy on the run. Today there's one member of congress calling for an immediate surrender. Kill a few more Americans and tomorrow maybe there will be two. Murder a Mosque full of Iraqis and more will turn against their new government. Kill a few school teachers and school children and more Iraqi children will shun the schools newly built by Americans. The infidels are collapsing. They're growing weak. Their resolve is dissolving. Keep up the pressure --- step up the pressure --- and soon Iraq will be theirs! Not only will Iraq be theirs, but the Arab people will once again have a stark reminder that the Americans cannot be trusted to keep their word, to carry out their goals. Once again the Americans will have left tens of thousands of Iraqis to die at the hands of the Islamic terrorists.
Why didn't Murtha take this one step further? Why didn't he ask for us to restore Saddam's presidential palaces and put him back in power before we run?
Tell me. Is Murtha a French name?
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Liberals Are Unpatriotic
Oh yeah, you read that correctly. All you liberals out there that would rather score political points against the President and Vice President than win this war hate your country. Willfully LYING about how the US came to be in Iraq is not dissent; it is sabotage of our national security. Dissenting IN GOOD FAITH is patriotic. All Americans are duty bound to speak up against the actions of our countrymen when we feel they are acting in error. But repeating lies every day to get back at the President that beat you doesn't make them true; it makes you a traitor to this country and disloyal to the troops who are on this day protecting you.
If by legitimate dissent liberals could have convinced the American people and by extension their elected representatives that they were correct by substantially refuting Saddam’s possession and prior use of WMDs, his connections to terrorism including Al Qaeda, and his genocidal behavior toward his own Shia population, then we would not have gone to war. Liberals were not able to achieve this because Saddam was an evil dictator who actively and openly supported terrorism and had verifiably massacred hundreds of thousands of innocent people many by using chemical weapons. Those facts are not in dispute and never have been.
Liberals now claim that the White House essentially “cherry picked” intelligence favorable to the case for war and ignored data that argued against it. As “evidence” of that contention, Democratic Senator Carl Levin presented a declassified DIA report of a debrief of captured AQ terrorist Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi who told interrogators that Iraq was training AQ members in making bombs, poisons, and gases. This report was used by the President in a speech in Cincinnati given in October of 2002 to bolster his case that Iraq was a threat to the United States. The DIA report from February 2002 stated that al-Libi “was intentionally misleading the debriefers’’ in making claims about Iraqi support for Al Qaeda’s work with illicit weapons. Furthermore, al-Libi fully recanted his statements regarding Iraq and AQ in January of 2004 prompting the CIA to completely negate any information received by him. It is on this statement that the liberal Democrats are making their case against the President for deliberately ignoring contravening information. Sounds bad, huh? Well, unfortunately for you lying scumbags who are trying to turn Iraq into another demoralizing defeat for the US, the Director of the CIA, Clinton appointee, and Medal of Freedom recipient George Tenet stated in OPEN SESSION of the Senate Intelligence Committee that,
“[Iraq] has also provided training in poisons and gases to two al Qaeda associates. One of these associates characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful…” on FEBRUARY 11, 2003!This took me, a knuckle dragging enlisted frogman, all of 30 seconds to find on Google, so I know Carl Levin’s staff saw it.
The National Intelligence Estimate is the amalgamation of the intel gathered by all branches of US Intelligence Community to include reports from allied intelligence services. It collates vast amounts of data into a consensus view of the given threat situation weighing divergent opinions according to their reliability at the time. A famous element of the 2002 NIE was the opinion of the State Department’s Intelligence and Research (INR) that aluminum tubes known to be in Iraq’s possession were not intended for use in gas centrifuges to enrich uranium as the CIA believed. That and Joe Wilson’s excellent adventure to Niger ought to nail the coffin shut on Iraq, uranium, and their illegal nuclear program right? Wrong. It seems that we just found 1.77 METRIC TONS of enriched uranium and “1,000 ‘highly radioactive sources’ were also removed” in Iraq but I had to link to a BBC report because the American media isn’t interested. So there’s a famous dissenting view that turned out to be DEAD WRONG.
You tell me who’s cherry picking. The State Department concluded that Saddam had no nuclear program and were rebuffed by the preponderance of evidence to the contrary in the 2002 NIE. So Levin and Senate liberals pick out a minority report by the DIA and essentially charge the President with what could be considered treason for having concealed it from the Congress. The fact that the Director of the CIA was still publicly using that information two months before the onset of hostilities in Iraq means that the preponderance of the evidence concluded that Iraq was in fact training AQ in bombs, poisons, and gases.
The Senate Intelligence Committee report from July 2004 categorically dismissed any claims that the White House had “manipulated” intelligence data in any way to build support for the Iraq War by suppressing dissenting views of Saddam’s WMD capabilities. The Committee found NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that intelligence officials were coerced into withholding intelligence exonerating Saddam Hussein from Congress. The fact is that very few Senators or Congressmen even bothered to have the CIA brief them on exactly what was known about Saddam’s WMD programs. It seems that 12 UN Resolutions, a Clinton bombing campaign in 1998, and the fact that Saddam failed to cooperate with weapons inspectors all the way up until the war began was enough for many prominent liberal Senators to make dozens of Senate floor speeches advocating the invasion of Iraq.
Senator Jay Rockefeller, the Co-Chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee said the following on October 10, 2002 on the floor of the US Senate,
“There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.”and
“I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. It is in the nature of these weapons, and the way they are targeted against civilian populations, that documented capability and demonstrated intent may be the only warning we get. To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? We cannot!”President Bush never even said that Iraq posed an “imminent threat”. Hillary, Kennedy, Kerry and dozens of other liberals made similar statements in the run up to the war, but Senator Rockefeller is the one man who cannot make any excuses for having not received the most comprehensive intelligence reports. In fact, he probably spent more time with the intelligence an analysts preparing these reports than the President since his only job in Congress was to act as the ranking minority member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Many of my readers might remember Senator Rockefeller’s memo from November 2003 detailing the Democrat’s strategy for manipulating intelligence through disingenuous investigations targeting the President during his re-election campaign. Rockefeller stated that Democrats should,
“Prepare to launch an independent investigation when it becomes clear we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the majority. We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation of the administration's use of intelligence at any time. But we can only do so once.”That trigger was pulled prior to the 2004 Election and the weapon misfired, so now the liberals have reloaded and are pulling it again.
I relate all of these facts to say one thing. While the garden variety liberal moonbat hanging on every word coming out of Cindy Sheehan’s piehole may not know that these charges of manipulation intelligence are false, liberals in the Senate are knowingly LYING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE every day. They are lying to gain an electoral advantage at the expense of the War on Terror and our troops. Paris is burning, Jordan, Britain, Spain, Turkey, Bali, Indonesia have been recently bombed, and the Aussies just rolled up a massive plot by AQ. The stakes in the War on Terror could not be higher and yet the Democrats shamelessly lie every day so that they can destroy the President of the United States. That is UNPATRIOTIC, and those who engage in this scheme are traitors of the lowest form. If you are a liberal reading this post and you followed all of those links and read that material, you now know. If you persist in this campaign of lies, you are UNPATRIOTIC, a TRAITOR, and SCUMBAG as well.
Friday, November 11, 2005
On the heels of the "White House -- CIA leak" investigation, which concluded that no laws were broken (but charged one administration staffer with perjury), liberals are attempting to parlay that non-starter into a much bigger political brawl. Their charges have no substance, and are completely contrived to keep Republicans off balance through next year's midterm elections.
Sens. Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid and Dick Durbin have accused President George Bush of lying about Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, insisting he "lied us into war." They are even floating the suggestion that he be impeached.
Here are their accusations:
"The Bush administration misrepresented and distorted the intelligence to justify a war that America should never have fought." --Ted Kennedy
"We all know the Vice President's office was the nerve center of an operation designed to sell the war and discredit those who challenged it. ... The manipulation of intelligence to sell the war in Iraq...the Vice President is behind that." --Harry Reid
"I seconded the motion Sen. Harry Reid made last week. Republicans in Congress have refused, despite repeated promises, to investigate the Bush administration's misuse of pre-war intelligence, so Senate Democrats are standing up and demanding the truth." -- Dick Durbin, who recently compared U.S. troops to the Nazis and Pol Pot.
Naturally, the Democrat's media lemmings are reporting these charges as de facto truth, but there is considerable evidence that these Demo-gogues and their colleagues believed Iraq had WMD long before President George Bush came to Washington. Here is a small sample of that evidence from the Clinton years:
Bill Clinton: "If Saddam rejects peace, and we have to use force, our purpose is clear: We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
Madeleine Albright, Clinton Secretary of State: "We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and the security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction."
Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Advisor and Classified Document Thief: "[Saddam will] use those weapons of mass destruction again as he has ten times since 1983."
Harry Reid: "The problem is not nuclear testing; it is nuclear weapons. ... The number of Third World countries with nuclear capabilities seems to grow daily. Saddam Hussein's near success with developing a nuclear weapon should be an eye-opener for us all."
Dick Durbin: "One of the most compelling threats we in this country face today is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Threat assessments regularly warn us of the possibility that...Iraq...may acquire or develop nuclear weapons."
John Kerry: "If you don't believe...Saddam Hussein is a threat with nuclear weapons, then you shouldn't vote for me."
John Edwards: "Serving on the Intelligence Committee and seeing day after day, week after week, briefings on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and his plans on using those weapons, he cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons, it's just that simple. The whole world changes if Saddam ever has nuclear weapons."
Nancy Pelosi: "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons-inspection process."
Sens. Levin, Lieberman, Lautenberg, Dodd, Kerrey, Feinstein, Mikulski, Daschle, Breaux, Johnson, Inouye, Landrieu, Ford and Kerry in a letter to Bill Clinton: "We urge you, after consulting with Congress and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions, including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
After President Bush was sworn into office in 2001, his administration was handed eight years worth of intelligence analysis and policy positions from the Clinton years -- you know, the years of appeasement when Saddam was tolerated, when opportunities to take out Osama bin Ladin were ignored, as was the presence of an al-Qa'ida terrorist cell in the U.S. -- which reared its head on 9/11.
In the weeks prior to the invasion of Iraq, Democrats, who had access to the same intelligence used by the Bush administration (much of which was compiled under the Clinton administration), were clear about the threat of Iraq's WMD capability.
Ted Kennedy: "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
John Kerry: "I will be voting to give the president of the U.S. the authority to use force if necessary to disarm Saddam because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security. ... Without question we need to disarm Saddam Hussein."
Hillary Clinton: "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock. His missile-delivery capability, his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists including al-Qa'ida members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
Carl Levin: "We begin with a common belief that Saddam Hussein...is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
Al Gore: "We know that he has stored nuclear supplies, secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
Bob Graham: "We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has and has had for a number of years a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
For the record: Here's a partial list of what didn't make it out of Iraq before the OIF invasion: 1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium, 1,700 gallons of chemical-weapon agents, chemical warheads containing the nerve agent cyclosarin, radioactive materials in powdered form designed for dispersal over population centers, artillery projectiles loaded with binary chemical agents, etc. Assuming Irag had no WMD because only small caches were recovered after Operation Iraqi Freedom began is perilously flawed logic. That, in no way, affirms what he spirited out through Iran and Syria before OIF.
So, ask Ted, Dick and Harry, what is their real agenda?
One might fairly conclude that they are willing to reduce U.S. national security to political fodder by accusing the President of the United States of "lying." Problem is, the President had no political motive for Operation Iraqi Freedom -- only a legitimate desire to fulfill the highest obligation of his office -- to defend our liberty against all threats.
Ted, Dick and Harry, on the other hand, have plenty of political motivation for their most recent antics -- and all of America should look upon these disgraceful Demo-gogues, and anyone who supports this dangerous folly, as traitorous louts.
On Veterans Day, President Bush noted: "Today our nation pays tribute to our veterans -- 25 million vets.... At this hour, a new generation of Americans is defending our flag and our freedom in the first war of this century. This war came to our shores on the morning of September 11, 2001. ... We know that they want to strike again and our nation has made a clear choice. We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire or rest until the War on Terror is won. ... [I]t is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. ... We will never back down. We will never give in. We will never accept anything less than complete victory."
"Deeply irresponsible"? He is too kind.