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January 17, 2007

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Thank you for pointing out it was rational then. I think Bush is still taking the rational course now.

The dominant arguments of the anti-war camp in 2002 were arguments against preemptive war, and did not emphasize the real flaws that resulted in the current mess.

until you can show me a pie chart listing the relative amount of play all the different arguments got, i'll call False.

Indeed, if anything, these pre-war cries may have helped those in power justify a smaller force in Iraq -- to our enormous detriment.

a small quick strike, followed by decapitation and then flowers. Shock And Awe, baby. that was Rumsfeld's plan all along. pre-war protests had nothing to do with it.

Indeed, many of us were calling for more troops from the very start.

and you were probably derided for being an unrealistic naybob of negativity and defeatism. The Plan, as presented, was perfect in every way.

Although it's undoubtedly true that Bush cherry-picked the best intelligence to aid his case, those who (today) act as if this lack-of-WMD thing was totally obvious from the start are doing their own selective remembering.

kindly cease pretending to read my mind.

It may seem black and white now, but it wasn't then

well, maybe not for you.

And that is part of the reason why anti-war liberals are still getting no love

and another big part is people like you, who seem eager to tell us all what we believed, when we believed it and how deeply we believed it.

maybe if you'd payed attention to what we were saying then, or would go back and look at it now, you might see where many of us were absolutely right, and you guys... well. you know.

Try Lexis/Nexis for a pie chart, cleek.

A lot of this misses the point, I'm afraid, and that is that it was the burden of those who supported the war, those who wanted the war, to make the case for war. From the beginning they (not you, I didn't know you then) gave us nonsense, debunked "evidence," and platitudes. And when we suggested that their claims were nonsense, debunked "evidence," and platitudes, we were marginalized as unserious, or, more charmingly, as traitors. I may come across as one of those rational liberals with whom one could have a beer and a nice chat, but I'm still very very pissed off about that time.

It wasn't black and white, as it seems now, no. It was the bright, blinding light of true belief and fifty-seven shades of dark gray.

" The first and biggest one was that Iraq possessed WMDs. Yet, I continue to think that this flaw was an excusable. Although it's undoubtedly true that Bush cherry-picked the best intelligence to aid his case, those who (today) act as if this lack-of-WMD thing was totally obvious from the start are doing their own selective remembering. The evidence for and against WMDs was at best muddled, in part intentionally by Hussein who wanted to avoid letting the world know of the "paper" aspect of his paper tigerdom."

Phooey. The evidence against WMD was that once the IAEA started inspections, at places they were pointed to by the Bush Administration, they found nothing. Zilch. Nada. Once this occurred, this flaw was no longer excusable.

a small quick strike, followed by decapitation and then flowers

Followed by years, really, of getting those flowers picked up? I mean, what was the long, hard slog supposed to be about, if not picking up those damned flowers?

So, our concern about the smoking gun being a mushroom cloud is which one: a) nonsense, b) debunked "evidence," c) platitude, or d) all of the above, in your "reality-based" universe?

I remember the pre-war period the same way Publius does.

And Von's assertion that people had rational reasons to support the war is sort of beside the point. Those of us who opposed it also had rational reasons.

There were also a lot of people on both sides (but especially on the pro-war side, since that was a substantial majority at the time) who took the positions they took for irrational reasons. That fact really does nothing to undermine the credibility of people like Publius and, well, me, who had rational reasons for opposing the war and turned out to be correct.

It remains a valid question why people who were (arguably) rational but wrong about the war are still afforded more credibility in mainstream circles than those who were right.

Yet, I continue to think that this flaw was an excusable.

I don't. Going to war requires compelling reasons. Engaging in a "war of prevention" requires really really compelling reasons. (What the Bush Admin called "preemptive war", which Drum later acknowledges in his update was really "preventitive war")

I'm not buying Drum's argument that this is the reason why those that opposed the war continue to be sidelined in big media - preventitive war is an inherently dangerous and corruptible justification. He says it hasn't been debunked as a concept. I say phooey.

Sorry, bro, but many of us have every right to say "I told you so" to those of you who thought Bush was credible in his prewar claims on WMD. This is exactly what's wrong with you people. You STILL can't admit that the evidence was clear yet you made the wrong call. Cause that's exactly what happened.

Anyone who didn't/doesn't know that Bush was lying and/or didn't/doesn't understand the significance of the fact that Bush was lying is someone with demonstrably poor political judgment.

Anyone who read the New York Times had enough information to make this call. Those who also read Glen Rangwala's rebuttal of Powell's disgraceful UN presentation had more than enough information to make this call. There were many other very credible sources calling Bush's credibility into serious question.

The problem was too many people were swept along by peer pressure and elite opinion.

Quit rewriting history.

Because, Tom, Americans don't want to lose. More than that, Americans hate retreating, and the Democrats' current positions cannot inspire. Bush, like General Anthony McAuliffe at Bastogne, is saying "Nuts!" to calls for retreat. And that is going to resonate better with Americans than pulling back.

Try Lexis/Nexis for a pie chart, cleek.

looks under chair. nope, no pie charts here.

The evidence for and against WMDs was at best muddled

Yes, and it was obvious at the time that it was muddled, and therefore at best very problematic as the justification for the war.

And the fact that the administration acted as though the evidence was not muddled, when it clearly was, raised major red flags.

The first and biggest one was that Iraq possessed WMDs. Yet, I continue to think that this flaw was an excusable. Although it's undoubtedly true that Bush cherry-picked the best intelligence to aid his case, those who (today) act as if this lack-of-WMD thing was totally obvious from the start are doing their own selective remembering.

Unbelievable. Un-be-freaking-lievable.

Prior to the summer of 2002 Saddam's WMD were not on the international agenda. No country saw fit to voice its concerns about Saddam's supposed WMD stockpiles - not even the US, where Colin Powell assured the world in 2001 that Saddam was no longer a threat. The hype - and there is no other word for the hysterics whipped up by the US in the fall of 2002 - was an artificial, deliberately engineered creation that had few outside the US fooled, and prompted some of the largest anti-war demonstrations the Western world had ever seen. Saddam's neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, the very ones who had the most to fear from any WMD he may have possessed, were against the war from the very start.

I am surprised that anyone, anyone bought the cynical Kabuki dance around Saddam's WMD.

I mean, what was the long, hard slog supposed to be about, if not picking up those damned flowers?

Rumsfeld didn't use that phrase until October of 2003, in the context of a memo reassessing the initial strategy.

The Fool:

And, anyone who says it was proven beyond all reasonable doubt that Saddan did NOT have WMD is just as deluded.

cleek:

Nexis will give you the total number of news articles which you can stuff into your own little pie chart called "cleek's irrelevant amount of play all the different arguments got" (TM).

So, our concern about the smoking gun being a mushroom cloud is which one: a) nonsense, b) debunked "evidence," c) platitude, or d) all of the above, in your "reality-based" universe?

Your concern was caused by cynical people demogoging a nonsensical claim backed by debunked evidence.

Remember: you were wrong about Saddam's having a nuclear program. Work backwards, reconsidering your assumptions.

damon and BP:

I thought the argument was A) the evidence is muddled, B) Saddam refuses to clear it up, and C) following 9/11, we can't wait for the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud?

Thanks for the advice, Jackmormon, but "WMD" includes more than just nukes.

Nexis will give you the total number of news articles

oh, i am well aware of what LexisNexis does.

which you can stuff into your own little pie chart called "cleek's irrelevant amount of play all the different arguments got"

relevance is to von's assertion of dominance. try to follow.

Because, Tom, Americans don't want to lose. More than that, Americans hate retreating, and the Democrats' current positions cannot inspire. Bush, like General Anthony McAuliffe at Bastogne, is saying "Nuts!" to calls for retreat. And that is going to resonate better with Americans than pulling back.

Whether you realize it or not, this is a TERRIBLE justification for policy. I expect something more substantive.

And when asked for a source, I expect something better than "look at Lexis Nexis". If you're not going to take the request seriously, why should YOU be taken seriously?

Charlie,

That's not an argument, but in any case if you grant that the evidence is muddled, as you do in A), then you cannot assume the existence of a 'smoking gun,' as you do in C).

"The dominant arguments of the anti-war camp in 2002 were arguments against preemptive war,"

Preventive war: not "preemptive war." You're misusing the term, as Kevin already corrected.

Pre-emptive war is striking just before your enemy is about to strike (the Six-Day War is a classic); preventive war is simply launching a war on a general theory that you'll have to sooner or later, anyway. This is not, in fact, a remotely small distinction. Calling it a "preemptive war" is factually false. It would only be true if Saddam Hussein had been within days of striking the U.S. directly.

I thought the argument was A) the evidence is muddled, B) Saddam refuses to clear it up, and C) following 9/11, we can't wait for the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud?

Yeah, 911 was the one incantation designed to shut off the cerebral cortices of most Americans.

Also, Charlie, the admin was not saying "the evidence is muddled"; they were saying "there is no doubt that"; etc.

"We know where the WMDs are..."

I'm glad you understand how to find the information then, cleek (and gwangung). I don't care if you take me seriously. I just wanted to let you know where to find to info. Since I am sure Von knows how to as well, the three of you are free to debate who has to look it up.

damon:

The evidence is "muddled" as to who killed Nicole Brown Simpson too. I guess there are shades of "muddled", huh?

Gary Farber:

How about 7 days? Would that be "preemptive" in your opinion? Also, which dictionary are you using for this?

BP:

Are you saying that 2,973 people were not killed on 9/11?

1. You don't go to war on "muddled" evidence.

2. Balsa-wood drones? Cartoon BW trucks? That's your definition of "muddled"? To me they were obvious fabrications.

3. When not only can't they point to actual weapons, but they can't even point to centrifuges, reactors, chemical plants, (the manufacturing resources) it's obvious it's a total crock and always has been.

If someone threw crap like that up as evidence in a trial you, as a lawyer, would have been all over it.

You silly man, *mushroom clouds* are caused by nuclear weapons, not anthrax spores or mustard gas.

This sort of dishonestly switching between nuclear and other kinds of WMD programs was exactly the argumentative move that made me so skeptical about this war to begin with. It still makes me absolutely livid, as in "what do you think this is, a fncking joke?", so I'll just bow out for the day.

"And Von's assertion that people had rational reasons to support the war is sort of beside the point. Those of us who opposed it also had rational reasons."

This leaves out the fact that large numbers of people had irrational reasons to support the war, and large numbers of people had irrational reaons to oppose the war, as well.

Claiming that everyone on both sides was rational is nonsensical; folks generalizing from their beliefs to what everyone else who agreed with them believed, is also not a reliable methodology.

If people have to argue about this sort of thing, could they maybe try to stick to citable facts, rather than generalizations, suppositions, and what was going on in their head, none of which is arguable, measurable, or particularly useful?

(I'd personally like to see people restrain themselves, as well, to arguments we haven't read before, but that's just me, and it won't happen; people compulsively repeat themselves, because it feels good to them, no matter that we've read it all before for several years now.)

Dear Charlie The Tool:

"anyone who says it was proven beyond all reasonable doubt that Saddan did NOT have WMD is just as deluded"

Learn how to read. I didn't say that, asswipe.

The burden of proof was obviously on those who wanted to start a war. The many costs and risks were obvious. It was up to war supporters to present a compelling reason why we should accept those costs and risks of additional costs. It was up to the war supporters to prove that Hussein had WMD. That case was NOT made.

There can be no doubt that Bush was lying about WMD. THAT is easily proved. Bush was making the extreme claim that he knew Hussein had WMD with 100% certainty. This was a goddamned lie. The fact that he felt he had to lie proved that he didn't have the kind of evidence he claimed. Once we could see that Bush was lying, this put the final nail in the war supporters' coffin.

Are you saying that 2,973 people were not killed on 9/11?

No, I'm saying "Yeah, 911 was the one incantation designed to shut off the cerebral cortices of most Americans". Do you have problems reading, or has your cerebral cortex ceased to function?

DNFTT

Thanks for the advice, Jackmormon, but "WMD" includes more than just nukes.

Yes Charlie, but only nukes can produce a mushroom cloud - which is kind of what you were mentioning upthread.

Furthermore, nuclear weapons so far exceed chem/bio weapons in destructiveness (in almost every case) so as to render the term imprecise at best.

Speaking of which, there was certainly a lot more agreement about Saddam's chem/bio stocks (though nobody believed he had stuff of the destructive capacity of nukes), but many other credible voices did not believe he even had a nuclear program, let alone a nuclear weapon.

Skeptics included the IAEA as well as the INR - which happens to be the State Department's intelligence bureau.

Generally speaking, conflating nukes with chem/bio weapons is intellectually dishonest, and done in order to piggy back on the fear factor associated with "mushroom clouds" (pace Condi).

Be on guard when you see it.

The dominant arguments of the anti-war camp in 2002 were arguments against preemptive war

Not "preemptive" but "preventive". As in, "not justified". But, basically, you got that right.

and did not emphasize the real flaws that resulted in the current mess.

Right again. It would have been nigh unto impossible to predict the spectacular parade of calamitous folly that Bush has made of Iraq.

If I'm not mistaken, your argument here is that, since opponents of the war failed to predict the unbelievable depth of Bush's incompetence, their argument in principle against preventive war was not legimitimate. I'm sorry, but I don't see how that follows.

Indeed, if anything, these pre-war cries may have helped those in power justify a smaller force in Iraq -- to our enormous detriment.*

All I have to say here is that, of all the lame, weak, bizarre arguments I've seen on this general topic, this one takes the cake.

Thanks -

damon and ugh (and Tim now too):

We thought there was no reasonable doubt (I would have to check if anyone used the word "muddled" but I do know there was a conscious effort to avoid saying Saddam was an "imminent" threat). Even YOUR guy Tenant thought it was a "slam-dunk".

jackmormon:

There are multiple causes of mushroom clouds. Look it up, if you won't believe me.

Gary Farber:

How about 7 days? Would that be "preemptive" in your opinion? Also, which dictionary are you using for this?

The Fool:

Bush never said that, and I am not a troll.

Rumsfeld didn't use that phrase until October of 2003, in the context of a memo reassessing the initial strategy.

If I were referring to an exact phrase, I would have used quotes. I'm a maverick that way.

You say that those of us who thought the WMD issue was obvious are having a bout of selective memory. I don't think you know what you're talking about. Howard Dean said in a speech to Colin Powell: "your presentation proves what a microscope we have Saddam under, so I'm impressed not by the compellingness of your evidence, but by the sketchiness of it." Then there was the weapons inspectors being pulled out by Bush - a big red flag. The inspectors asked for more time, but Bush claimed they were in danger. The UN was hesitant to get on board, and the coalition of the willing was a token commitment at best. I mean, I can deduce from the fact that other countries were skeptical about Iraq's WMD capabilities and the threat he – trumped up as a card-carrying Al Qeda supporter - posed to America and western civilization. If he posed such an immediate threat to the US, why was Europe so unconcerned? All they wanted was to be let into the post-war oil contracts. That was what the token military commitment was about, and it was why France was demonized - they had a better contract under Saddam, and were against our meddling.

And don't forget, after 9/11 there was much talk about anthrax. WTF? Why did our government's power point presentation to the UN revolve around Anthrax, if terrorists were more innovative and suicidal, mushroom clouds and all. That anthrax scare came out of the blue, and disappeared just as quickly right back into it. Another big red-flag.

Then there was the history. Everyone who paid attention to politics new these guys wanted to invade Iraq since at least the early 90's. For God's sake, the Onion, the satirical newspaper, ran a headline on Jan 20th, 2001, "Our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is over!" THE ONION new these guys were warmongers. Taken with the already questionable casus belli, and you have the blueprints to madness.

As I think Kevin Drum pointed out today, even if Saddam had WMD's, and there were inconsistencies all over the place regarding their case for WMD's, he had no way of launching them. Basically, the only way Saddam could have used his WMD on us is if we went over there.

I don't know what to tell you. You can call this selective memory if you want. I think, for the people in this country there's no shame in being duped, but don't say that anti-war critics saw things in black and white, because there was ample evidence that the war critics based their views on evidence, deduction, and skepticism regarding who the war-advocators were, based on their own history and public plans (PNAC)- hardly the foundations of some runaway belief system.

OK, let's cease fire on comments that resort to personal insults. If you don't understand the posting rules, they are available for your review at any time here

Sorry for the repetition of jackmormon's point - hadn't seen it in time. In particular, I apologize to Gary. In particular, I apologize to Gary.

There were two significant factual flaws in that analysis, of course. The first and biggest one was that Iraq possessed WMDs. Yet, I continue to think that this flaw was an excusable.

As has been noted already, one could say in late 2002 the flaw was excusable, but not after the inspectors had spent over a month on the ground.


And even prior to that time, there was ample cause for skepticism. Non existant IAEA reports, ludicrous claims of exiles known by our intelligence agencies to be serial fabricators.

Look, I realize it's comforting to look back on past mistakes and offer rationalizations for why they were excusable. But don't compound your mistakes by looking even more foolish in trying to explain them away.

We thought there was no reasonable doubt (I would have to check if anyone used the word "muddled" but I do know there was a conscious effort to avoid saying Saddam was an "imminent" threat). Even YOUR guy Tenant thought it was a "slam-dunk".

The admin knew there was a reasonable doubt (to put it mildly), but chose to act as if there was not. People like you, the "we" you mention, no doubt sincerely swallowed this. People like me, and many others like me, saw that this was unjustifiable hype, and therefore not acceptable as a justification for war.

"Bush, like General Anthony McAuliffe at Bastogne, is saying 'Nuts!' to calls for retreat. And that is going to resonate better with Americans than pulling back."

Indeed. And who would have opposed the Charge of the Light Brigade, save for defeatists? And which among us would have been sufficiently negative-thinking so as to say that the next charge over the top of the trenches, in WWI, wouldn't defeat those defending machine guns, if enough elan and determination were put forth?

Which is not to say that Iraq is the Crimea, or trench warfare, since of course it isn't; it's merely to note that being positive or negative is irrelevant to whether a judgment is right, absent actual facts and context.

Naturally saying "we can win!" is, per se, more popular than "we're doomed to lose!"

However, the actual facts as to how likely it is for us to win versus how likely it is we're going to lose, remain kinda relevant. Just a tad.

And since you're citing WWII analogies, I'll note that Hitler had no lack of positive thinking. He, too, ordered numerous armies and army groups of his to fight to the last man, rather than surrender. He, too, kept coming up with new plans to win.

Same is also all true for the Japanese.

Saying "nuts" is only a decent idea if you can actually, you know, hold out, and prevail. Otherwise it leads to pointless slaughter.

Yet, I continue to think that this flaw was an excusable. Although it's undoubtedly true that Bush cherry-picked the best intelligence to aid his case, those who (today) act as if this lack-of-WMD thing was totally obvious from the start are doing their own selective remembering. The evidence for and against WMDs was at best muddled....

Yes, the evidence was at best muddled, and that is precisely the point. At the time, many of us on the left opposed rushing to war on evidence that objectively was "at best muddled". That's what MAKES the decision unexcusable. This is precisely the point that Publius makes.

You are quite right to suggest that things were hardly black and white at the time. But many of us -- myself included -- understood the risks (politically and militarily) of venturing into a war when the strategy needed AND the rationale behind it were "gray".

This was, contrary to what you say, not only a flaw, but THE flaw of the entire war.

If I were referring to an exact phrase, I would have used quotes. I'm a maverick that way.

uh huh. sure.

BP:

Thanks for answering my question. In answer to yours: no.

Eric Martin:

No need to apologize. Although mushroom clouds are most commonly associated with nuclear explosions, any sufficiently large blast will produce the same sort of effect. Volcano eruptions and impact events can produce natural mushroom clouds. Try here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mushroom_cloud

A different matt:

No one thought 19 terrorists could bring down the WTC either.

Andrew:

Is calling me a "troll" a personal insult?

Were your arguments rational? Sure; they weren't *insane*. But they were wrong, wrong, wrong, and were wrong because of poor analysis of "known knowns" as Rumseld would say, and not because of withheld facts. Yes, the doctrine of preventative war was a part of it, if only because it gave us a near-assurance of further destabilizing the entire world and emboldening the worst regimes to race to get nukes so the penalty to go to war with them on a whim would be too great, *at the same time* as ripping apart a nation that any fool could see wasn't going to be a happy, peaceful democratic populace anytime soon. It wasn't exactly a secret that Iran and radical Shiites would be emboldened -- that has a major piece affecting foreign policy in the region for decades. You were wrong -- and far from blameless.

I'm not sure about the use of 'troll'. I was (and am) more concerned with terms like 'tool' and 'a**wipe.'

Bottom line, to borrow from Mr. Davies: if your point is valid, it doesn't require profanity or personal insults to buttress it.

damon and Kenneth:

And, if Bush had IGNORED the "muddled" evidence and YOUR American hometowns were therefore destroyed by terrorists linked to Saddam, you would be defending him today, right?

Although mushroom clouds are most commonly associated with nuclear explosions, any sufficiently large blast will produce the same sort of effect. Volcano eruptions and impact events can produce natural mushroom clouds.

Er, come on Charlie. That's just silly. Condi Rice was not talking about a conventional explosion or a Saddam-rigged volcano. Nor were you. Do you really want to claim that right now?

Further, if we were worried about conventional explosions or Saddam-rigged volcanos (with laser beams for eyes?), did we really need to invade for that? Terrorists can get conventional explosives from a myriad of sources - or make them themselves.

Regime change to prevent conventional explosives from being passed on to terrorists?

Heh.

Charlie The Tool:

Bush and his toadies DID SO say that they knew Hussein had WMD with 100% certainty. Yes they did too.

You, my friend, are a LIAR.

There were two significant factual flaws in that analysis, of course. The first and biggest one was that Iraq possessed WMDs. Yet, I continue to think that this flaw was an excusable.

Perhaps. Then again, if my 1999 3 series suddenly developed VSTOL capability my commute would be much more enjoyable.

Any other straw men you need help there with Charlie?

"We said they had a nuclear program. That was never any debate." [Dick Cheney, July 13, 2003]

OK, The Fool, since you apparently cannot take hints: refrain from personal insults or lose your commenting privileges. Your choice.

Right after 9/11 when the hawks and admin kept refering to saddam and Iraq...I thought 'wtf does iraq have to do with 9/11?"

I'm thinking that still, to this day.

Von,

Please be gracious about having been wrong then and being wrong now. Your bile and whining makes you look like a prison-bottom.

Charlie,

God you're an asshole. STFU! will you....

Vice President Cheney asserted:

"We know they have biological and chemical weapons." [March 17, 2003]

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." [August 26, 2002]

Donald Rumsfeld stated:

"He has at this moment stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons." [Sept 18, 2002]

Oops.. My last was a response to this.

"And, if Bush had IGNORED the "muddled" evidence and YOUR American hometowns were therefore destroyed by terrorists linked to Saddam, you would be defending him today, right?

"

Oh, thanks Andrew. I read that, and BP's "DNFTT", differently. As for the profanity, what can you expect?

P.S. Eric -- I believe the FBI does consider conventional explosives capable of "mass destruction" and thank God, because if 3,000 American were killed that way, I would hope so would you.

And, if Bush had IGNORED the "muddled" evidence and YOUR American hometowns were therefore destroyed by terrorists linked to Saddam

The evidence that Saddam had WMD was muddled. The evidence that Saddam was planning to deploy terrorists against American cities was not muddled: it was zero.

And, if Bush had IGNORED the "muddled" evidence and YOUR American hometowns were therefore destroyed by terrorists linked to Saddam, you would be defending him today, right?

Making shit up and presenting hypotheticals is not an argument, it's what you do when you don't have an argument. Deal with the facts on the ground. What if Saddam was really the Antichrist? Who gives a f*ck, he ain't. Next question.

Charlie:

And, if Bush had IGNORED the "muddled" evidence and YOUR American hometowns were therefore destroyed by terrorists linked to Saddam, you would be defending him today, right?

Why do you make the opposite of "invading" to be "ignoring"?

Obviously, the thing to do when faced with "muddled" evidence is to get more. Otherwise, you're like Mike Nifong or something.

Bush was not interested in finding out the truth. He worked backwards from the conclusion that Saddam has WMD, and tried his best to present evidence to support that conclusion.

Remember, the inspectors were continuing their work in Iraq, getting us closer (albeit slowly) to the UNmuddled truth. BUSH's policies forced them out, not Saddam's.

Uh, huh? Conventional explosives killed 3,000 Americans? Is that a reference to 9/11?

Either way though, you dodged the point. Again. Are you really suggesting that we invaded Iraq based on the fear that Saddam could have passed conventional explosives to terrorists?

Does the answer change because the FBI considers conventional explosives dangerous?

Does the answer change because terrorists can make conventional explosives from regular household items?

"asswipe."

That's certainly a violation of the posting rules, as well as a declaration that you have no better arguments than personal abuse.

"Do you have problems reading, or has your cerebral cortex ceased to function?"

And there's a second violation. Theoretically folks get banned when they violate the rules a second time, you know (although, frankly, there seems to be clear favortism towards letting at least one regular repeatedly getting away with that sort of thing).

"In particular, I apologize to Gary. In particular, I apologize to Gary."

That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay. That's okay.

"Even YOUR guy Tenant thought it was a 'slam-dunk'."

Assuming you're referring to CIA Director George Tenet, and not someone you were landlord to, Tenet was appointed by, and trusted by, Bill Clinton, and kept on, and trusted by, George W. Bush. He was clearly a flawed choice, but it's entirely unclear which of these two President's "guy" he might fairly be called, or how he could be called that of only one of the two.

This entire argument is, as is unsurprising, as enlightening as a Windows/Mac thread, or a Kirk vs. Picard thread. "I was always right because you and FOLKS LIKE YOU are too stoopid!!!!" isn't terribly educational to anyone, unless it's news that people are always interested in a good chance to be self-righteous and dump on those they disagree with.

Conventional explosives killed 3,000 Americans? Is that a reference to 9/11?

It's a reference to Iraq, I believe. The 3000th soldier died of WMD in Iraq last december. I guess Charlie's right after all ;-)

I distinctly remember a conversation with a friend about the "humanitarian" justification, about just how bad Saddam was, and saying: "I think the lesson of the 20th century is that it could always be worse. A civil war would be worse." I said I didn't know if that was likely, but it was a risk. Does that count?

You don't start wars on the theory that they might one day maybe stop something bad from happening. That is not a sufficient justification for invading a country and killing people. Your invading countries and killing people will have unintended consequences--it could always be the worse.

I also thought the nuclear threat argument was bullsh*t and being dishonestly hyped, which made me distrust everything, and that the low grade chemical and perhaps biological weapons he had had for years did not justify a preventive war. I did not by that "9/11 changed everything" because I did not think he had ties to Al Qaeda. Expert MIT profs. told me the only way he'd give chemical or biological weapons to Al Qaeda was if we invaded--because those are hard to secure, you have to search house to house, we wouldn't be able to control those & would greatly increase the risk of attack.

Then as we got closer I thought: gee, they're really not finding these things, and I really don't trust these guys, so what if they're wrong about that too? If we're arguing we can invade any nation with WMDs we had better be sure they had them.

I knew full well that the occupation was going to be harder than the war, and that there would be an insurgency.

There were some things I feared--chemical attacks on Israel, etc.--that did not come to pass. I did not think the civil war would be quite so bad; and I initially thought there were at least some chemical weapons. So it's not like my factual predictions were so accurate. But a large part of the reason they were inaccurate is that the administration turned out to be dishonest/wrong about the chemical and biological threat too, and worse at managing the occupation than I thought. The democratic-beacon-in-the-middle-east theory I don't remember coming to prominence until after the war, but to the extent I heard it before I thought it was ridiculous.

Anyway, the preventive war theory was completely discredited by our intelligence being a combination of misinterpretations, exaggerations, and deceptions. That was discredited years ago. The current horrors are discrediting the Democratic Domino theory, but their sure as f*ck not making preventive war look any better.

Good thing we invaded then...

Charlie and Von cannot admit they were and are wrong. You were all mistaken and it is not understandable. Vengeance drove this war and vengeance is a lazy form of grief. "If we can't get the people responsible cause they're dead, let's get some people that look like them"

Andrew: if you can't take my tone then you can bite me. That's not a hint. I have made a valuable and substantive contribution to this dialogue. Meanwhile Charlie is lying like a Republican but you choose to try to censor me.

If you can't take the heat, then blow me.

Davebo:

No, but thanks for the answer.

judson (and Kenneth):

They were all terrorists intent on killing Americans. After 9/11, we could no longer wait for more evidence. Get it now?

damon:

I'm concerned when Americans ANYWHERE not just in our cities are targeted.

BP:

You don't have to answer the question if you don't want to. Don't expect another question from me though.

Eric Martin:

It was a reference to "mushroom cloud", but I don't know if "jet fuel" qualifies as "conventional" explosives. Especially given his support of PLO homicide bombers, that was indeed one concern but I will grant, not the most pressing. Not sure if that answers all of your questions though. I will check those Admin quotes in context and get back to you.

Oh good Christ. To the assembled commenters of good faith: if you're not familiar with Charlie's oeuvre from the comment sections at Kevin Drum's, I strongly suggest you acquaint yourselves. His name is, AFAIK, still legend over there.e

For those who want a shorter version: DNFTT.

The Fool:

It's O.K.; I don't mind your profanity.

If you're checking, here are a few more:

Vice President Cheney:

"[W]e do know, with absolute certainty, that he is using his procurement system...to build a nuclear weapon" [September 8, 2002]

Bush:

"Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." [October 7, 2002]

But now I know that Bush meant a mushroom cloud caused by jet fuel, conventional explosives, a volcano or a meteor.

Which, on second thought, provides a solid basis for invading Iraq.

Look, I don't have time for this. Because, I've had a really bad day, and I'm in a really bad mood. Infact, I'm damn cranky.

Or, to put it in plain English, pending review by the rest of the regular, The Fool is banned.


"Do you have problems reading, or has your cerebral cortex ceased to function?"

And there's a second violation.

No it isn't. It's not profanity, it's not consistent abuse or vilification for its own sake, and while sharp, it's civil - it's a segue on my remark that 911 shuts down cerebral cortices, and Charlie's misreading thereof.

Anarch:

Please point out ONE post of mine intended to provoke an angry response? I am asking honest questions and answering the same to me. I thought that was the intent of dialouge? Just because The Fool is angry does not mean that was my intent.

Bah. Regulars.

"You, my friend, are a LIAR."

I know that Hilzoy said she'd not be around much for the next couple of days, so could someone ban this commenter for repeated violations of the posting rules, please?

"Making shit up"

Also this one.

At this point, this thread has become nothing more than trolls, and those who feed them.

Andrew, I wasn't sure if you knew how to do that, so I was right behind you, apparently.

Officially, I've turned in my keys, but there's still that trick window in the basement; who can forget that?

Thanks, Slart. Hilzoy gave me the keys to the kingdom a few months back when she was going to be out of town. This is the first time I've needed them, however. And hopefully the last.

For the record: it was not my intent to get The Fool banned either. If there is any post Admin here think qualifies as me "trolling", please let me know so I may understand the rules better.

They were all terrorists intent on killing Americans. After 9/11, we could no longer wait for more evidence. Get it now?

Wow, where to start?

First of all, who is "they"? All olive-skinned people living in the Middle East? Care to be clear about who (and what) constitutes a "terrorist" before you lump "all" of "them" into that pot?

Secondly, just why couldn't we wait for more evidence? Do you have any evidence to suggest that the supposed threat was "imminent"? Or is it just because 9/11 made you piss in your pants and you got terrorized?

News flash: the world is full of individuals, groups, and states who have the "intent" to harm Americans. Some of them (unlike Saddam) even have the capability to do so. Yet, we have (in some cases) waited years and decades to do anything. And we're STILL not doing anything.

So please explain how Saddam -- who was no threat in November 2000, December 2001, and even as late as June 2002 -- suddenly became a threat in October 2002, a threat so menacing that we absolutely HAD to do something so quickly that we couldn't stop and find out, you know, how big a threat he ACTUALLY was.

And I was just patting myself on the back for the cause-and-effect relationship between my leaving and the decline in necessity of IP bans.

Oh, well.

if you're not familiar with Charlie's oeuvre from the comment sections at Kevin Drum's

OMG... it is him! wow. what a (tragically) small world.

Gary, you said you don't like to see arguments you haven't seen before? well, get ready to be flooded by them. Jan 17th, 2007 - the day Charlie came to ObWi... a day that will live in infamy.

...and now I excuse myself again; the combination of invective and self-congratulation is a little more than I can take, without antacids.

The basic argument against a preventive or preemptive war is that you don't know if the enemy is truly enough of a threat to justify going to war. What part of that argument hasn't been proven 100% true regarding Iraq? They were not a serious threat to us and going to war with them was a HUGE mistake.

And I was just patting myself on the back for the cause-and-effect relationship between my leaving and the decline in necessity of IP bans.

Publius is the new guy. Let's blame him.

Indeed, many of us were calling for more troops from the very start.

Well, Von, when "more troops" was taken off the table, why did you (speaking broadly of "more troops" pro-war types) not say "well, then we shouldn't do it at all?"

I mean one possible rationale ordering of preferences would have been:

1. Do it with 500k troops
2. Don't do it at all.
4192. Do it on the cheap.

It's a certain kind of perverse to justify your tacit (if not explicit) support for the worst possible option by reference to your arguments and actual preference for a qualitatively different approach.

P.S. Eric Martin -- I was not the one who claimed "only nukes can produce a mushroom cloud" -- don't be upset just because I proved you wrong.

Even YOUR guy Tenant thought it was a "slam-dunk".

The Ex Dir at the time, quoted in this book (IIRC), noted that Tenet's relationship with Bush was "beyond professional." Which I took to be, knowing the Ex Dir's general loyalty to his friends (as noted here, scroll down to A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard), about as close as he would come to criticizing Tenet for going too far in supporting Bush in his Iraqi intelligence claims.

P.S. Eric Martin -- I was not the one who claimed "only nukes can produce a mushroom cloud" -- don't be upset just because I proved you wrong.

Charlie, I fail to see how this type of comment contributes to the debate. It seems pitched only to raise hackles. You're more than welcome to make your arguments, but this thread is contentious enough without attempts to provoke others.

"it's not consistent abuse or vilification for its own sake,"

Posting rules: "Be reasonably civil."

"Do you have problems reading, or has your cerebral cortex ceased to function?" is a personal insult, and nothing other than a personal insult. It has no informative content; it is simple abuse. It's a violation of the posting rules, as is any comment that is nothing but a personal insult. If this wasn't clear to you before, be aware now.

(I speak for myself, and not for ObWi's blog-owners, of course, though at this point I've been, hmm, commenting here longer than any of the blog-owners other than Von.)

Sorry, Andrew. I had just re-read all of Eric's posts on this thread to try to figure out why he was so upset. Won't happen again.

At its simplest, the best anti-war argument is that the pro-war side failed to justify even the minimum expenditure of blood and treasure.

The more complicated explanation was that every offered justification collapsed on close examination:

WMD. Opposite view -- Chem and bio present virtually no threat to the continental US. Nukes require an enormous infrastructure visible from space. While sanction support had been waning during the Clinton admin, there was ample opportunity to beef up sanctions following 9/11.

Cakewalk. Even GBush I knew that was ridiculous. The principal reason he gave for not taking Bagdad during Gulf War I was that he didn't want the responsiblity of running Iraq.

etc.

Powell could never adequately explain why he was so wrong in 2001 when he said Iraq was contained. Powell had no explanation for why the inspectors couldn't find anything even when the US gave precise coordinates. Making a huge deal out of two mobile hydrogen plants and a balsa wood plane was pretty strong evidence that the "cast-iron" evidence was nonexistant.

Perhaps the single thing that bothered me the most was the repeated assertion that the war would be quick and easy. That was so obviously incredibly unlikely that it demonstrated to me that the administration would say anything to get its war. "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy." But there was never any serious discussion that the war might be long, hard and expensive.

Charlie,

Not upset at all, just scratching my head a bit here.

Let me see if I'm following. Please feel free to lend me a helping hand:

You and the Bush administration invoked the specter of "mushroom clouds" when warning about letting Iraq go un-invaded.

When readers/listeners assumed this was a reference to nukes, and then proceeded from that premise, you corrected us by pointing out that you (and the Bush administration?) were referring to things like jet fuel, volcanoes, meteors and conventional explosions.

Here's the catch though: why invade Iraq for that?

You claimed upthread that you were providing honest answers, so do me the courtesy of a little intellectual honesty here.

It's a violation of the posting rules, as is any comment that is nothing but a personal insult.

The posting rules state consistent abuse or vilification for its own sake.

It is neither consistent abuse nor for its own sake; with respect to the latter you may think otherwise but that's your problem, not mine; if the management agrees with you that's fine by me, otherwise kindly desist as you dragging this completely off topic.

though at this point I've been, hmm, commenting here longer than any of the blog-owners other than Von

So have I, though not always under this moniker. Your point?

I liked the meteors.

I believe the Admin was using "mushroom cloud" to invoke the scariest image of nukes, knowing full well that conventional explosives produce mushroom clouds as well (I don't think anyone was considering volcanoes and meteors, but it certainly helped me prove "other causes" didn't it?).

They were all terrorists intent on killing Americans. After 9/11, we could no longer wait for more evidence. Get it now?

Wow, where to start?

By not feeding the troll, please.

"Publius is the new guy. Let's blame him."

I blame Von, for his usual habit of doing a drive-by, and not sticking around to take care of/moderate the thread, or even respond to it or read it. It's a very destructive, and irresponsible, way to post, on any blog. As we can see.

"Publius is the new guy. Let's blame him."

I blame Von

As long everyone understands that I have no responsibility here whatsoever.

I'm not even supposed to be here today.

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Whatnot


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