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July 30, 2004

Comments

" I think Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction are a threat"

True.
I wonder why he thought that. Do you think John Kerry's intelligence services were at fault? Do you think we should replace John Kerry's intelligence services and those responsible for them? Do you think John Kerry was inept at hiring and managing his intelligence services?

"But he says leaving Saddam Hussein "unfettered with nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction is unacceptable.""

True. Fortunately, the hypothetical wasn't salient.

This whole tactic of isolating who thought what when is ridiculous. There are and were a very limited number of information feeds regarding this stuff. Are you going to hold responsible the people on the receiving end or the people responsible for the feed? I am aware that people think Bush was simply duped like everyone else by an inept CIA. I think there's a substantial amount of evidence that the administration was, at best, wilfully duped, and at worst, was complicit in the duping.

I'm not sure Kerry had access to all the same intelligence the President did either. At least Cheney constantly hints that he didn't.

So Kerry's access to the intelligence was more limited than Bush's, and yet Kerry's proclamations on Iraqi WMDs were, in many ways, more certain?

Really, it's time for the whole "Bush lied" meme to die. He may have misread the intelligence; he may have dispensed with necessary qualifiers; he may not have asked the right questions. But virtually every political leader who looked at the intelligence (Democrat to Republican, U.S. to British to French to Russian to UN), concluded that Saddam had WMDs.

But virtually every political leader who looked at the intelligence (Democrat to Republican, U.S. to British to French to Russian to UN), concluded that Saddam had WMDs.

Mushroom-cloud causing WMDs?

Was Hussein even close to that?

I think you're parsing a virtually nonexistent difference between lying and exaggerating.

Robin Cook.

Good old Merriam Webster's:

"Main Entry: lie
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): lied; ly·ing /'lI-i[ng]/
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English lEogan; akin to Old High German liogan to lie, Old Church Slavonic lugati

intransitive senses
1 : to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive
2 : to create a false or misleading impression"

"Kerry's proclamations on Iraqi WMDs were, in many ways, more certain?"

Huh? Enumerate some of those ways, please.

Robin Cook.

Ergo, the "virtually every".

Sidereal --

“[A]ll U.S. intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons.”

"I think Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction are a threat, and that's why I voted to hold him accountable and to make certain that we disarm him."

"If you don't believe in the U.N. ... or you don't believe Saddam Hussein is a threat with nuclear weapons, then you shouldn't vote for me."

"Convincing evidence of Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction should trigger, I believe, a final ultimatum from the United Nations for a full, complete, immediate disarmament of those weapons by Iraq. Over the next hours, I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to fully examine the evidence offered by the secretary for a complete and close reading. But, on its face, the evidence against Saddam Hussein appears real and compelling."

From USA Today: "Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts chides the administration for waiting too long to make the case for invasion and do 'the hard diplomatic work' of enlisting allies. But he says leaving Saddam Hussein 'unfettered with nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction is unacceptable.'"

(All from Buck's post, or the links therein.)

As we've discussed ad nauseum here on on Tacitus.org, Bush was far more circumspect in his allegations. (Cheney and others may not have been, but then I'm comparing Kerry to Bush, not Kerry to the Bush administration.)

sidereal--I bet I can guess. He's misreading Kerry's conditional statements about how it would be unacceptable for Saddam to have nuclear weapons, as statements that he did.

It's true that a conditional statement could be a deliberate attempt to imply something. The whole "if Saddam got enough enriched uranium he could make a bomb in months" thing, for example. But where Bush's conditional statements are part of a pattern and from the full text of speeches he wrote, Kerry's are partial, no-context quotations from newspaper articles. We don't know exactly what he said before and after those statements. They could be in response to a reporter asking "what if Saddam has nuclear weapons", or an antiwar protestor saying that we have no business interfering with Iraq no matter what WMDs Saddam has, not in a state of the union addres arguing for immediate war.

Meanwhile, Cheney said on Meet the Press that Saddam had reconstituted nuclear weapons. But we are supposed to understand that it was a misstatement, and give him the benefit of the doubt, and it is lying to do otherwise even though Cheney never made any attempt to correct himself.

"Fairness and balance" for its own sake can make people into awfully, awfully easy marks.

"Cheney and others may not have been, but then I'm comparing Kerry to Bush, not Kerry to the Bush administration"

Ah, well. The nice thing about our Republic is when you vote for a leader, you get their administration, too.

Meanwhile, Rumsfled was suggesting he could point out the weapons on a map.

I'm not sure Kerry had access to all the same intelligence the President did either

Edward (apparently, I've upset some members here in using Eddie) since Kerry wasn't a member of the Intelligence Committee, I believe the answer is no. But since Edwards was, he would have the same access to American Intelligence as the President, although the presentation of the information is different. The Congress is not privy to foreign (British)intelligence (going back to a WWII agreement) and I believe that this is what Cheney is referring to.

Which fits into a pet theory of mine regarding Libya, Praktike has a diary on it over at Tac (something about Timmy and Santa and it is alluded to in the Butler Report). If the theory is true, Saddam was a greater danger than previously thought.

Kerry and Bush were both wrong.

But since Bush was president and the ultimate decision to invade was his, I consider him responsible for invading a country on premises that have turned out almost entirely wrong.

He's misreading Kerry's conditional statements about how it would be unacceptable for Saddam to have nuclear weapons, as statements that he did.

Katherine -- of the quotes I provided, please identify those you believe could be shown to be conditional if further context were provided.

Understand, I don't hold Kerry's judgment against him; it was eminently reasonable. Indeed, there's good reason why virtually every US foreign policy expert thought that Saddam had WMDs pre-war, while those who did not tended to have less foreign policy experience. (As with every general statement, you will find exceptions.)

The experts got this one wrong, and that's appalling. But they were the experts.

Obviously, I'm missing the bracketed bit in the above:

"Indeed, there's good reason why virtually every US foreign policy expert thought that Saddam had WMDs pre-war, while those who did not tended to have less foreign policy experience [did not]."

And I share Oberon's view that the buck must ultimately stop with the President, who was, after all, commander in chief of the armed forces and in charge of the intelligence services.

This is idiotic, von.

Sidereal nails it well in the first comment. You are effectively criticizing Kerry for believing what the Bush Administration told him. And your defense that it was the "Administration" and not St. George himself is laughable. When will his defenders hold him accountable for anything?

Actually BY, what the Admin told Kerry was similar to what the previous Admin told Kerry. If there was a material change, the Bush Admin would have to have a material piece of intelligence to change the view. Since all of the western intelligence agencies held a similar view and had held that view for some time, someone (Katherine, Bernard et al) needs to point how or why the Bush Admin would have changed the widely held position in March of 03.

Absent that, yes the Bush Admin got it wrong (didn't lie about it) but he did his job based made a decision on the information at the time. Kerry held a similar view at the time.

Hey, how 'bout a little love for me. Don't I deserve some credit?

You are effectively criticizing Kerry for believing what the Bush Administration told him.

In addition to TtWD's comment, the "Administration" is simply too broad. I'll not hold Bush responsible for the errors of non-political workers in the CIA, etc. Does the buck stop with Bush. Absolutely, yes. He's responsible for this war; he made the call. Can Kerry blast him as an idiot for relying on the same intelligence that Kerry relied upon? No; that's an unfair and unpersuasive attack.

Do you think Kerry and Bush used the same STOVEPIPE?:

THE STOVEPIPE
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH
How conflicts between the Bush Administration and the intelligence community marred the reporting on Iraq’s weapons.

Since midsummer, the Senate Intelligence Committee has been attempting to solve the biggest mystery of the Iraq war: the disparity between the Bush Administration’s prewar assessment of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and what has actually been discovered.

From THE STOVEPIPE

Then there are certain government agencies that just are a bit to eager to...spread the love/democracy?

The Lie Factory
Back in February, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) was reported as saying, "We've read Mother Jones ... we've explored each and every possibility ...." So it's all the more surprising that his committee's report blames the CIA almost exclusively for flawed prewar intelligence. After all, this special Mother Jones investigation late last year detailed how, only weeks after 9/11, the Bush administration set up a secret Pentagon unit to create the case for invading Iraq. Here is the inside story of how they - and not just the CIA - pushed disinformation and bogus intelligence and led the nation to war.

The Spies Who Pushed For War
Julian Borger reports on the shadow rightwing intelligence network set up in Washington to second-guess the CIA and deliver a justification for toppling Saddam Hussein by force

Pentagon Office Home to Neo-Con Network
The Office of Special Plans (OSP), which worked alongside the Near East and South Asia (NESA) bureau in Feith's domain, was originally created by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to review raw information collected by the official US intelligence agencies for connections between Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

I'm really goddamn sick of this "You have to stop saying Our President lied" crap.

Our President got up on national television and suggested - repeatedly - that if we didn't invade Iraq, Iraqi nuclear weapons would be used by terrorists in major American cities. Or have Republicans conveniently forgotten the "smoking gun becomes a mushroom cloud" speech?

Remember also that Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, et al CONTINUED to maintain that the aluminum tubes were for centrifuge use AFTER the IAEA maintained that they were unfit for use in nuclear programs; remember also that Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, et al ALSO continued to maintain the uranium-from-Niger story AFTER the IAEA demonstrated that the documents that claim was based on were forgeries - months before Joseph Wilson's op-ed reiterated the same information.

Remember that a great deal of information coming from the CIA and the State Department was disputing much of the case for war, ESPECIALLY the Iraq-al Qaeda connection. Remember that the Czech government itself retracted its previous claims about the Atta meeting in Prague, and even after this retraction, Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, et al continued to cite the Atta/Prague meeting.

How many times does an administration have to lie before we're allowed to call them liars? How many times does an administration have to have mislead before we're allowed to point out that they shouldn't be leading us?

Von, Bush and his people were making decisions at a level Kerry couldn't have even been aware of (Kerry's not even on the Intelligence Committee anymore). When Bush and his people are sifting through conflicting information and deciding that the intelligence that supports their case is "good" and the intelligence that doesn't support their case is "bad," that's willfully misleading the country. When his people only present the information that makes the case they want to hear, that's willfully misleading the country, and you'd better believe I'm going to hold him accountable for it.

Either Bush is a liar, or he is a hopelessly incompetent, utterly lost man surrounded by liars and too bereft of sound moral judgment to be able to tell. Neither version of Bush can be trusted with leading a country into war, much less the most powerful office in the world.

I have yet to see an answer to Lungfish's points, which have been made repeatedly over the last year.

There is a huge difference between saying Iraq is a problem and Iraq likely has some degree of WMD (about which everyone is then wrong), and then saying that Bush & Crew had the right solution for that problem. Bush & Crew have been deceitful and incompetent warmongers (nothing worse than bad liars), and their failings cannot be excused simply because others also saw a problem with Iraq.

And that is Lungfish's point, which Bush supporters somehow always gloss over. Bush's failings cannot be excused because others saw Iraq as a problem, which seems to be the thrust of this post.

dmbeaster,

"Iraq is a problem and Iraq likely has some degree of WMD"

If that tone was attempted before the war, there would have been no war.

Also, don't forget that Sadddam used chemical gas, murdering about 10,000 people at Hallajaba.

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