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April 12, 2006

Comments

So what? One group of "experts" thought they weren't for biological weapons. Another group thought they were. This is just like global warming -- where the media acts as though the side they want to agree with (i.e., the side whose position has an anti-Bus bent to it) is the side that knows what it's talking about. You name the topic -- evolution versus ID, supply side economics versus Rubinomics, just to name a couple -- and the media acts as though the essentially anti-Bush side is in the right.

And they wonder why many think they have a left-wing bias.

Leondidas, that's an extraordinally nihilistic argument.

And given the way the media (e.g., the NYT) has coddled the worthless ID claims, a not convincing one.

Poor Bush - the facts are biased against him.

So what? One group of "experts" thought they weren't for biological weapons. Another group thought they were.

I've thought for quite a while that the thought processes of a significant chunk of America's right wing are exactly the same as those of holocaust deniers. It seems extreme to say so, but I really don't think it's an exaggeration. They simply won't accept reality. No amount of evidence will puncture their preferred fantasies, and literally any "evidence" is acceptable if it backs up what they want to believe.

It's really something to see, and does not bode well for this country's future.

This is one of the most blatantly deceptive media articles I've had the misfortune to read in my life.

The Post leads by speaking of a "unanimous" report, and it isn't until paragraph 12, and ONLY in paragraph 12, that we see that this was not only a not a unanimous report, it was actually a minority view opposed by not one, but two teams of military experts that examined the trailers first. It was only unanimous in that all members of the one civilian team agreed. The other two teams did not agree. I don't care if you are a Democrat or a Republican, this is lying.

This Joby Warrick article is exceedingly deceptive, and in my opinion, fraudulent in it's construction. It misleads the reader in the opening paragraphs and forces them to deduct the truth from the shredded facts they accidently let slip in one paragraph of what was a four page online article.

The Washington Post should be ashamed.

I don't know CY, this paragraph might bear on your assertion

Kay, in an interview, said senior CIA officials had advised him upon accepting the survey group's leadership in June 2003 that some experts in the DIA were "backsliding" on whether the trailers were weapons labs. But Kay said he was not apprised of the technical team's findings until late 2003, near the end of his time as the group's leader.

I'm thinking that if the military teams 'backslid', then the fact that they were opposed to the unanimous consensus is not as big a point. Also, if the military teams based their opinions on an examination of photographs as is suggested here

Photos of the trailers were quickly circulated, and many weapons experts were convinced that the long-sought mobile labs had been found.

And the article makes it sound that the team that did not feel they were WMD trailers was actually the first group to make a first hand observation of the trailers.

lj,

whether they backslid or not at a later date is irrelevant; the Post misrepresents a unanimous, consensus view that clearly never existed.

I've read the article several times now, parsing it as carefully as I can becuase you do not want to be wrong about such a claim, but I cannot help but feel that this is an absolute willful deception, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how they thought this would slip though in a page one article.

I have my thoughts in more detail here if you care to read them.

ID -- utterly worthless made-up fictitious nonsense.

Supply-side economics -- wealthy urinating on the middle class and calling it "trickle-down". There is no credible evidence whatsoever to support the idea that our economy is so far along the Laffer (laugher?) Curve that tax reductions raise revenue.

at this blog, we make a real effort to separate truth from truthiness. please try to do the same.

or is there no such thing as right and wrong any more?

whether they backslid or not at a later date is irrelevant; the Post misrepresents a unanimous, consensus view that clearly never existed.

But if those experts had never visited the trailers, as the latter quoted paragraph suggests, and then backslid (nice Southern word, that ;^)), I think that works against your point. You note that

that two other teams that initially inspected the trailers However, the article says

Two teams of military experts who viewed the trailers soon after their discovery concluded that the facilities were weapons labs, a finding that strongly influenced views of intelligence officials in Washington, the analysts said. "It was hotly debated, and there were experts making arguments on both sides," said one former senior official who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.

I don't think viewed necessarily is the equivalent of inspected. If it were, I would agree with you, but I think that the teams you are referring to only say recon photos, as these later two paragraphs suggest:

The trailers discovered in the Iraqi desert resembled the drawings well enough, at least from a distance. One of them, a flatbed trailer covered by tarps, was found in April by Kurdish fighters near the northern city of Irbil. The second was captured by U.S. forces near Mosul. Both were painted military green and outfitted with a suspicious array of gear: large metal tanks, motors, compressors, pipes and valves.

Photos of the trailers were quickly circulated, and many weapons experts were convinced that the long-sought mobile labs had been found.

So, the "pro-Bush" side is Intelligent Design? That's . . . interesting. In about a thousand different ways. All of them frightening.

Confederate Yankee makes some good points. The Post is way out of bounds here. What's most upsetting about this sort of attack is that it seems nothing more than an attempt to take down a president while we're at war.

And I have a question for the liberals here who have jumped all over this article: if two teams of doctors told you a growth was cancer, and one team of civilians said it wasn't, you'd still have it taken off, wouldn't you? That's all the administration did here, in effect.

CY, I just read the report and don't see the deception. Your evidence for deception appears to be that the two military teams aren't mentioned until paragraph 12. The point of the article is that there were apparently very strong technical reasons (not given in the article--we just have to accept the word of the civilian inspectors) for thinking these couldn't be weapons labs, but the public wasn't told this at the time. That's why it is news.

Yikes. If you read Confederate Yankee's perspective, I think you can add one more member to the "holocaust denial" faction of American's right wing that I mentioned above.

It's really, really weird to see how widespread this is. It makes me wonder what percentage of Germans would have steadfastly refused to believe in the holocaust if Germany hadn't been completely defeated and had the reality of it forced upon them, over and over and over again. 20%? 30%? 50%?

Goodness, though, doesn't this seem like something that would be in America's interest to declassify? Surely this set of reports isn't a security risk years after the invasion.

Bush has demonstrated in the past that he believes the American people deserve to be informed -- even of minority opinions on intelligence issues!

Well, at least I have faith in the civilian teams again. It was obvious from the picture that these weren't mobile biolabs; the experts confirmed that. IIRC, the British said the same thing at the time.

You could also tell the admin knew they were lying at the time from the lack of followup. I mean, they supposedly had captured something that justified the entire venture. It should have been bronzed and installed on the Pentagon's lawn for all to see. Instead it was hidden; they knew it couldn't stand up to even casual inspection.

if two teams of doctors told you a growth was cancer, and one team of civilians said it wasn't, you'd still have it taken off, wouldn't you?

are the doctors doing Frist-ish remote diagnosis via video-tape and rumor, or did they examine me for themselves ?

if two teams of doctors told you a growth was cancer, and one team of civilians said it wasn't, you'd still have it taken off, wouldn't you?

You've got the expertise backwards. It was more like two teams of plumbers saying you have cancer, and every doctor in the world saying you only have a hangnail.

CY -
Have you considered the fact that the later team - the so-called "Jefferson Project" team - was convened for the specific purpose of fact-checking the earlier military teams, and resolving the controversy?

The article doesn't conceal the existence of conflicting information. The point of the article is that the team that was sent out to resolve the conflict did so, but in a way that was politically inconvenient for the administration, so its report was shelved and the earlier reports continued to be fronted. Those reports were obviously felt to be less than credible, otherwise why did DISA convene the civilian team?

In the end, of course, the "Jefferson" team's findings are what made it into the the Kay Report which states pretty clearly that the trailers were not bioweapon factories. So again, what's your point? Are you saying that Kay was lying? Or do you accept that the trailers weren't bioweapons factories, but just don't care, as you are so focused on your role as freelance ombudsman and bias-crusher?

No shifty Clintonian equivocation--just straight-up lying, like a real man. That's what we elected W. for, I guess.

Though I see that CY and Leo are trying to emulate their bête noir ....

No shifty Clintonian equivocation...

unless you get them talking about the meanings of "imminent", "operative", "covert", "learned", "terrorism", "mission", "accomplished" or "commitment" (re: TANG). then they'll qualify and mince like old pros.

The paragraph 12 problem would certainly exist if the idea of the story is "No one ever believed they were biolabs, it was made up out of whole cloth." On the other hand, if the story is "People did at one time think these were biolabs, but by the time top members of the executive branch were asserting that they were they had very strong intelligence to the contrary." then what paragraph twelve is just obvious.

CY: whether or not a report is unanimous has nothing to do with whether other reports disagree. The Post says only: "Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report". This is not lying, unless the report itself was not unanimously agreed to by the group that wrote it.

So again, what's your point?

Confederate Yankee doesn't have a point, any more than holocaust deniers do. They both have a goal, however: to draw people into endless "debate" over tangential, meaningless emphemera that have no bearing on anything important.

They also both specialize in denouncing the media for its refusal to treat their imaginary world with due seriousness. In the case of holocaust deniers, it's because the media is controlled by "The Jews"; in the case of CY et al, it's because the media is controlled by "The Liberals." (Of course, until recently in conservative thought these categories were considered essentially synonymous.)

The Holocaust denial theme here is close to a violation of Godwin's Law, not that I put much stock in that piece of legislation. Just sayin'. But anyway, it seems to me that there are examples of American obliviousness to fact (and also American atrocities, not that that is the point here) that we can use as analogies without having to import them from overseas. Analogize American, dammit.

Oh, and as for Leonidas's utterly specious cancer metaphor, Bush isn't the patient. Bush is the doctor. He gave us a snap diagnosis of cancer, which was backed up at first by a quick look at the CT by his staff radiologists. He sent the scans over to a board of oncology specialists who sent back a report saying "this is not cancer. the patient is not dying." Report in hand, Dr. Bush turned to us, shook his head ruefully and said "I'm sorry. The experts agree. It's cancer." He does this because he doesn't want to look foolish. We continue to believe we are dying.

What would you do if your doctor did this to you, Leonidas? Would you fire him? Or defend him, over and over and over and over and over again?

For instance, Confederates, both the ones in the 19th Century and their modern day sympathizers, are often prone to deny facts known to everyone else.

Okay, that's about enough from me on this particular tangent.

The Holocaust denial theme here is close to a violation of Godwin's Law, not that I put much stock in that piece of legislation.

I hear you, and am open to other analogies. But I don't know if there are any that make the point clearly. For instance, I think using things people say about the confederacy is a little muddy.

And in all seriousness, I don't think the comparison is an exaggeration. Iraq's non-possession of WMD and the Bush administration's dissembling about it are almost as close to proven as historical facts can be. I suppose we can be a little bit more certain about the holocaust, but not much...because there's not much further to go.

"The point of the article is that there were apparently very strong technical reasons (not given in the article--we just have to accept the word of the civilian inspectors) for thinking these couldn't be weapons labs, but the public wasn't told this at the time."

You don't have to accept the word of the civilian inspectors. Look at the Duelfer report here, which will give you the eye-glazing details.

The Holocaust denial theme here is close to a violation of Godwin's Law, not that I put much stock in that piece of legislation.

"Godwin's Law" is predictive.

if the thread grew long and nobody ever mentioned the Nazi's, then we'd have a Godwin's Law violation. in this case, we have an early, but legitimate, example of Godwin's Law in action.

Jon, you don't need to use analogies to make your point. Especially not that analogy. Unless you can find evidence that Confederate Yankee and Leonidas are actual Holocaust-deniers, I would recommend just chastising them for continuing to buy into the Iraqi WMD lies. That's damning enough.

Dear Cheney Administration:

Please hold off on your insane plan to attack Iran and accelerate the end of the American Republic until after my wife and I get back from Morocco in two weeks.

Very Truly Yours,

Ugh

i wonte ...mentiond the Nazi's, ...

the Nazi's what ?

damn the stupid apostrophe. damn it all to hell.

"The point of the article is that there were apparently very strong technical reasons (not given in the article--we just have to accept the word of the civilian inspectors) for thinking these couldn't be weapons labs, but the public wasn't told this at the time."

Actually, the point of the article, which makes Leonidas' and CY's statements moot, is that at the time Bush and the administration were declaring these to be bioweapon labs, they already were aware that they weren't.

Just like they were aware that the aluminum tubes were not likely to be used in a nuclear program but stated that they were anyway.

Just like Bush declassified portions of the NIE, but left classified all those parts which called into question what was declassified.

Good luck, Ugh.
There are people i this world who functin mentally almost entirely on the concrete level: seeing is believing,and their emotions are facts or screeners for facts. I think the thirty percent that clings to support of Bush includes a disportinate number of this type of thinker. Bush must be truthful because, in their eyes, he looks to them and sounds to them like a truthful person and they have to believe the evidenc of their own eyes. Also Bush appeals to theri fearfulness and their emotions are far more real to them than facts. Facts which contradict their emotions will be disregarded. I don't know if this is the Holocaust denier mindset or not, but I do beieve it is the key to the thought processes of someone who still clings tothe fantasy that Bush is a truthful protector of the counry.

you don't need to use analogies to make your point. Especially not that analogy. Unless you can find evidence that Confederate Yankee and Leonidas are actual Holocaust-deniers, I would recommend just chastising them for continuing to buy into the Iraqi WMD lies. That's damning enough.

I don't know; I think it actually is a legitimate and important thing to say -- not so much for CY, etc. but for those responding to him. It makes clear how pointless it is to engage people like CY. You wouldn't have any hope you could convince a holocaust denier, and wouldn't spend any time on it. But a lot of folks do think they can convince people whose minds work in exactly the same way.

George W. Bush: he says what he means, and he means what he says.


Hilzoy, you're defaming Horton by comparing them. I'm offended.

it was actually a minority view opposed by not one, but two teams of military experts that examined the trailers first

It's an interesting inversion of the "conservative" position on global warming. Dick Groeber of Dick's Weather Service can throw water on global scientific consensus, but here the "minority" have no standing.

Shoot, I knew those trailers weren't biolabs when I saw them on the news...with soldiers in BDUs crawling around on them. No NBC gear. Not even rubber gloves. There wasn't anything infectious or even toxic there.

So: no biolabs. Sorry, neocons!

Technically (putting on my Farber hat, here) a violation of Godwin's law would be something like this: an an online discussion wherein, after an infinite amount of time has passed, no comparisons to Hitler or Nazis has occurred.

Removing Farber hat; it's way too big.

Oh, and cleek pretty much pointed that out already, so away I slink. Hey, I'm only 20/70 in that eye, today...

Just out of curiosity....

"...Both were painted military green and outfitted with a suspicious array of gear: large metal tanks, motors, compressors, pipes and valves."

Has anybody ever determined exactly what these trucks and gear were being used for?


Jay, this is from memory only, so it may not be accurate, but I think they were used for sending up weather balloons.

My recollection is that they were for the production of hydrogen for weather/battlefield observation balloons. I'd never heard of any such thing before the last time the trailers were discussed, but it was treated as a reasonable explanation by people who seemed to know what they were talking about.

Jay C,

Well, yes. They were being used to make the case for invading Iraq.

Oh, and cleek pretty much pointed that out already, so away I slink.

but i made a stupid grammar error in doing it, then a stupid spelling error trying to correct the grammar error. so, i think i lose two letter grades right off the bat.

Well, yes. They were being used to make the case for invading Iraq.

Good one.

After reading the relevant bits of the Duelfer report, I think that the other two teams of experts who maintained that this might have been a mobile biowar lab should be publicly made fun of.

Urinated States of America tried to link the document and failed; here's the Annex that discusses it in detail. Table 1, Page 81 should be tatooed on their collective foreheads.

Prior to reading this, I was prepared to root for that one dentist out of five, too.

hoot, I knew those trailers weren't biolabs when I saw them on the news...with soldiers in BDUs crawling around on them. No NBC gear. Not even rubber gloves. There wasn't anything infectious or even toxic there.

You couldn't even make a mini-brewery from that stuff. Of course they knew instantly there was no danger.

That said, comments to the effect that your average soldier would be able to recognize that there was absolutely no danger, there, are probably a little premature.

A quick clarification for the 'it was a bioweapons lab, you're just quoting the dissenting minority' crowd:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President George W. Bush's claim three years ago that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq was based on U.S. intelligence that was later proved false, the White House acknowledged on Wednesday.
...
McClellan dismissed the Post article and a report based on it that aired on ABC News Wednesday morning as irresponsible. He said ABC News should apologize and took issue with the way the Post story was written.

"The lead suggested that what the president was saying was based on something that had been debunked, and that is not true," McClellan said. "In fact, the president was saying something that was based on what the intelligence community -- through the CIA and DIA -- were saying."

Funny, no clarification was ever made, and the report with the correct information was classified and shelved.

I guess that's where the President's discretion on what the America Public needs to know comes in, eh? Declassify the false information, classify the true stuff. That's one way to keep our enemies guessing...

I don't mean to pile on CY here (and I think it is possible to register disagreement politely), but I'm a bit baffled by his comment at his site (unfortunately, no permalinks, but it was at 8:34am) that said:

The ultimate accuracy of the civilian team is not the issue here—based upon what I’ve read since the trailers were originally found, I think that I probably agree with their conclusions barring substantial evidence to the contrary.

If the civilian team were chose to be the arbiter and produce a yea or nay judgement on the trailers, their ultimate accuracy is the issue.

One would also note that if the admin were lying from the get-go, they wouldn't have done it this way, which suggests incompetence followed by CYA rather than malice aforethought. Which seems a lot more dangerous than the alternatives.

Well, yes. They were being used to make the case for invading Iraq.

Thanks, CMatt: glad that's cleared up!

Also, to CY, if the administration had revealed the fact that a team of civilian experts had determined the trailers had nothing to do with bioweapons, no one would have objected if they also noted that the other teams of military experts disagreed (although my guess, from the facts about the trailers, that the military teams would have lost credibility on that point fairly quickly). Our grievance is that the administration insisted that the trailers were bioweapons labs for months, entirely concealing the fact that there was any internal disagreement at all, much less a report saying that it was impossible.

Slarti:

This was an interview with some military talking head and an embedded journalist, with the trailers in the background, covered with unprotected soldiers looking busy. I am not an expert in bioweapons. I did spend quite some time working in a cleanroom with lots of toxic nasties, and unprotected people are not the proper way to check for the presence or absense of said nasties. This left two possibilites open:

1. Soldiers were being placed at enormous risk for publicity purposes. I know this happens, but usually in less obvious ways.

2. There weren't any bio-weapons there to worry about. The trailers were in open air.

I am confused now. What is the news value? Wasn't this all known for almost three years???

It's still, formally, an open question in the US whether whoever makes the decisions in the Bush admistration intentionally lied about our pretexts for war, or whether they simply made an awful lot of very convenient mistakes about which information was more credible. The mainstream press has, until very recently, been taking the second position. This is news because it is strong evidence that the administration was making factual statements that they knew were unfounded at the time they were made.

(I realize that most people have strong opinions in this regard already, and have for years -- I certainly have. This is news because it has the potential for tipping the public, rather than private, consensus on this point.)

I think the public is tipped, and has been for awhile. It just never gets mentioned in the big press, nor much credit in the insular blogosphere.

Slart, your 12:45 is worth a post.

Thanks LizardBreath. I switch from being confused to being amazed now :)

Slartibartfest: Yes, that table was... enlightning.

I am secure in my faith in the honesty of this administration.

And I would like to say, that all of these so-called "facts" regarding what the president knew/did not know, believe/did not believe strikes me two ways.


a. You lefties here, act as if the world is a black and white template, thereby proving both your ignorance and your naivete.

It is important to remember the CONTEXT for this witholding of this information. We were on the cusp of the first few months of the liberation of Iraq. This time was a VERY IMPORTANT time, where the fragility of establishing order could be overturned by any number of factors. And "telling the truth" on this small matter of mobile weapons lab, increased the potential for the loss of stability in those few first months. (Yes, of course Rumsfeld complete lack of interest in the tactics of keeping order and stability in Iraq, then completely blew the liberation and freedom moment in Iraq. And for that I will never forgive him.)

b. The priority given to this white lie. There are a million things that matter more than this, so why do you give it so much attention?

Please - isn't there something better you lefties have to do, then get out your little word count calculators from your pocket protectors, go over every single little administration utterance, for a "gotcha" moment?

There is a WAR on people, and our wonderful troops need all the support we can give them!

It's time you forget the past, and gird yourselves for the LONG war. Rome wasn't built in a day, and it may take a couple of decades to bring a stable democracy to Iraq.

But I have faith in this administration, in the United States, and in her people.

And I know we are up to the task.

God bless.

I figure you're kidding, mostly because most people who are fans of the administration don't go for the word 'lie' that easily. If so, you probably want to be a little more baroquely silly for the full humorous effect.

(If I'm wrong and you're serious, then your current level of baroque silliness is just fine.)

thereby proving both your ignorance and your naivete.

my ignorance and my naivete are in a constant battle to win the attentions of my fickle but alluring insouciance. so there.

"The Holocaust denial theme here is close to a violation of Godwin's Law, not that I put much stock in that piece of legislation."

As I, and everyone who actually knows what Godwin's Law says, periodically point out, it's a perfectly valid observation.

That a lot of people who think they know what it says don't, in fact, know, really isn't Mike Godwin's fault.

(Reading down the thread.)

Slart: "Removing Farber hat; it's way too big."

You're saying I have a swelled head?

You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it's me, I'm a little overly large in the head maybe, but I'm big how, I mean big like I'm a Burger King head, my big head amuses you? I make you laugh, I'm here to effin' amuse you? What do you mean big, big how? How am I big-headed?

How the eff am I over-sized in the head, what the eff is so large-headed about me? Tell me, tell me what's so damn big-headed!?

LizardBreath: "My recollection is that they were for the production of hydrogen for weather/battlefield observation balloons. I'd never heard of any such thing before the last time the trailers were discussed, but it was treated as a reasonable explanation by people who seemed to know what they were talking about."

People have been sending up people in balloons on battlefields to do observations since the Civil War and then the Crimean War. Unmanned weather balloons were big in subsequent wars.

More LB: "It's still, formally, an open question in the US whether whoever makes the decisions in the Bush admistration intentionally lied about our pretexts for war, or whether they simply made an awful lot of very convenient mistakes about which information was more credible. The mainstream press has, until very recently, been taking the second position."

First actually serious question in this thread, it seems to me. I don't think this is quite the right formulation. I don't want to try to put forward The Most Correct Formulation, but I think the question that's both closest to the truth and that most needs to be settled in the public view and the historical record is whether the Administration, particularly Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice, were, in their statements about the need to go to war, putting forth the sort of acceptable diplomatic/political deceptive language that is used every day in political discourse in slanting an argument favorably towards supporting one's preferred policy, or whether they crossed the line into something far greater and more serious that was an unacceptable level of deceit, whether because of the nature of policy the claims were being made in support of -- i.e., leading to the semi-destruction of Iraq for years to come, the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis or more, and to tens of thousands of American casualties -- or because of the level the deceit rose to, or because of some intersection of those two factors.

Because politicians intentionally lie every day; we accept that, and don't toss them out of office, or do mroe than various levels of rolling our eyes at them. And the words "diplomatic fiction" are well-known for a reason.

The question isn't whether there was slanting of the case being made; the question is whether we think it rose to a level that should be regarded as unacceptable or worse. (For instance, some say it's an impeachable level, others don't, others, I'm sure, are simply unsure; thus, to answer dutchmarbel's query, that's why this argument/discussion/issue is so important.)

So it seems to me.

You're saying I have a swelled head?

Swelled with knowledge, was the implication. It was effin' admiration, man.

Then I confess that here is a recent photo of me, Slart.

I also have a large fantasy life.

I only borrowed the neck-chain thing, though.

Your chin is much less prominent than I'd expected; I had more of a lantern-jawed thing in mind. Your hairline, too, has receded more than I'd imagined. Other than that: just as I'd pictured.

Talking about misleading government statements... this is in our news currently (it has similarities to what happened after an Israeli airplane flew into one of our flats about 10 yrs back):

The number of people with medical problems linked to the 9/11 attacks on New York has risen to at least 15,000.

The figure, put together for the BBC, counts those receiving treatment for problems related to breathing in dust.

Many of the victims say the government offered false reassurances that the Manhattan air was safe and are now pursuing a class-action lawsuit.

On Tuesday, a coroner said the death of a policeman who developed a respiratory disease was "directly linked" to 9/11.


Two points are demonstrated here: 1) Another Bush WMD lie; 2) Conservatives will do handstands to avoid this obvious fact. So much for the Party of Ideas -- their "Ideas" were swiped from the three card monte guy.

The story here seems to be that the military types who made the initial examination, getting desperate to find WMD, jumped to conclusions about these oddball vehciles. The subsequent more definitive study concluded unanimously that it was not WMD. That politically inconvenient fact was then kept hidden, and the lie perpetuated that WMD had allegedly been found.

Leonidas and CY then respond with tedious arguments about the alleged slant of the article, even though all of these facts are admittedly true, and are damning. They care not that the leadership they worship is openly deceitful.

Conservatives will do handstands to avoid this obvious fact.

Interesting. I'd be happy to be able to do a handstand, and here I've been doing them without being aware of it.

They care not that the leadership they worship is openly deceitful.

It's actually not that they don't care; they do care, very much. It's that they're terrified of reality, and are desperate to tell *themselves* any number of lies to prevent themselves from having to accept it. The lies are aimed are themselves; we're just collateral damage.

I don't know LB. I honestly thought Leonidas was joking with his first comment and thought it was really quite a witty satire. Then I ended up feeling kind of lost when I realized he wasn't. With this in mind, I now always assume serious until proven otherwise.

I said--

The Holocaust denial theme here is close to a violation of Godwin's Law, not that I put much stock in that piece of legislation."

Gary replied--

As I, and everyone who actually knows what Godwin's Law says, periodically point out, it's a perfectly valid observation.

That a lot of people who think they know what it says don't, in fact, know, really isn't Mike Godwin's fault.

End of quote

Lordy, Gary, you can take even the most innocent mistake in what was meant to be a joke and make it into an occasion for swelling your hat size. What's that about?

To be more specific, a couple of other people corrected me about Godwin's Law. You're the one who saw the need to correct me again, knowing it had already been done, and added a little insult on top. Nice.

Why is the left so full of hate? Can't we all at least attempt to do our duty to our country, and show politeness and decency to our fellow Americans?

It's amusing to me to hear the lefties jump up and down, screaming "Bush lied Bush lied Bush lied", as if the temper tantrums of a 3 year old are useful in a civil dialogue.

I'm a idealistic realist. I'm a idealist in that, when a rigid societal structure is put into place, sometimes the only way to upend that structure is to end it - as we did in Iraq. Given the advancing betterment of modernity through time, the chances are that a much better society WILL emerge, even given the chaos in Iraq now. The world is too interconnected for it to be otherwise.

(Look at the NUMBERS OF DEATHS for wars, for the last 100 years. In nearly every case, the amount of deaths per the population is lessening. Freedom, stability, progress, IS on the rise.)

At the same time, I'm a realist. Every president has lied about war. War is a heavy thing, regarding occasional propaganda.

As an artifact of our technological age - secrecy is harder than it was, both back in WWII, and even in the Vietnam war.

If you are connected to the internet, you pretty much know what is happening in Washington, if you want to.

So a higher standard of "truthfulness" is expected for Bush, than say Roosevelt. (I'm sure everyone has heard the claims that Roosevelt had pretty good information that an attack by the Japanese was coming, if he didn't know the exact date. But he LET IT HAPPEN anyway. And as such, this motivated the american public to join WWII.

We also have heard the story of the town in England, which Churchill let perish, because if he saved it, the Germans would have know we cracked their communication code.

What is fibbing about a couple of vans compared to that?

That a lot of people who think they know what it says don't, in fact, know, really isn't Mike Godwin's fault.

Nor, if you want to be pedantic about it, is it Mike Godwin's concern.

I'm sure everyone has heard the claims that Roosevelt had pretty good information that an attack by the Japanese was coming, if he didn't know the exact date. But he LET IT HAPPEN anyway.

Assuming facts so far from being in evidence as to be non-existent in the first place.

I am now guessing that socratic_me was right.

Sorry, JC, if my earlier comment was offensive.

Actually, Lizardbreath, you were right the first time.

I'm more "trying on my inner neocon" here - for the heck of it. I'm more a centrist liberal. The first one I attempted humor, however lame it was, and the second post was just continuing the post to see what could come out of me "channeling my inner neocon".

But actually, completely as a side point to this post, I guess, would be the discussion, "when is it okay for presidents to Lie?"

Regarding Roosevelt, I really wouldn't have been too surprised if a memo titled "Japan determined to strike the United States" passed by Roosevelt's desk.

Family in my grandfather's generation actually worked for the OSI, and - so the legend goes in the family - a cousin of my grandfathers was stationed in Japan. Six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor EVERY MESSAGE from this cousin was "Japan is preparing for an attack on the United States".

Has no one read any of the historical cases about this (I can drop this line of thought, if it is considered hijacking the thread.)

Actually, Lizardbreath, you were right the first time.

Score!

It wasn't bad, just a little too understated to be certain that it was meant as humor. I wouldn't have been sure enough to comment on that basis if you hadn't said 'lie'.

"What's that about?"

Well, I can make all sorts of tonal mistakes in comments, but in that case it's just that something like ~94% of all citations of Godwin's Law get it wrong.

Even if I pointed it out every single time I saw it, the truth would still never catch up with the error, and I'd be doing so something like only .00000001% of the times people mis-state it. That's all. No biggie.

"You're the one who saw the need to correct me again, knowing it had already been done, and added a little insult on top. Nice."

Wait a sec. No, I wrote what I wrote without seeing any corrections. Then, when I saw one, I added a humorous remark about it. And where did I insult you?

(There's a problem of dynamics of blog-commenting, where even the most passing comment is often taken as some sort of Major Personal Attack, when it's, you know, the most passing sort of casual remark; another dynamic is mis-reading comments on facts as directed at a given person.)

In any case, I'm unaware of insulting you, or how I did, but since I certainly didn't intend to, my apologies for whatever I said that you take to be an insult, and a comment about Donald Johnson the person. (I didn't say anything about DJ the person; I didn't even notice who wrote the comment about Godwin's Law.)

"(I'm sure everyone has heard the claims that Roosevelt had pretty good information that an attack by the Japanese was coming, if he didn't know the exact date. But he LET IT HAPPEN anyway."

I'm sure many have heard the claims. Those who have any familiarity with the history knows that that was a vicious lie, and a complete bunch of crap.

Generalizations about "the lefties" are as useful as generalizations about "the righties." I.e., not very much use. Individuals have opinions, and individuals don't speak for "the right" or "the left," and acting as if they did, or vice versa, is absolutely nonsensical.

"We also have heard the story of the town in England, which Churchill let perish, because if he saved it, the Germans would have know we cracked their communication code."

Coventry. Also complete nonsense. I can provide cites, but you might simply want to try reading up on history before passing on Big Lies. (I'm sure you're not knowingly passing on falsehoods here; you are simply ignorant, I'm sure.)

Gary: JC's already said they were kidding.

"Six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor EVERY MESSAGE from this cousin was "Japan is preparing for an attack on the United States"."

Sure, but that in no way meant that an attack at Pearl Harbor was expected, and it absolutely was not Roosevelt's fault. Let alone intentionally.

But a lot of people believe that crap. Ditto the Coventry story, which is also simply false.

Good job of faking being a Bush defender, though.

"Gary: JC's already said they were kidding."

And yet I can't read things before they're on my browser; I think we've kind of gone round on that before. I have nine tabs open; I don't obsessively read a single blog comment thread, and only that thread, updating to make sure that something hasn't been superseded; I'd never get either other reading, or the blog commenting, done, if I did. At the moment I'm also reading TAPPED, three Washington Post pieces, a Wired piece, a NY Review of Books piece, checking my mail, and stuff with two other tabs.

Probably there are other comments on this thread between the one I'm replying to, and this one, too.

No stress. I just figured that your chances of seeing a reply to your comment was greater than noticing JC's comment above.

JC siad:
At the same time, I'm a realist. Every president has lied about war. War is a heavy thing, regarding occasional propaganda.

The fact that JC is serious is what makes statements like this so breathtaking for me. War is a heady thing, which is why we should not udertake it through means of propoganda.

The fact that other presidents have lied us into war should make us decry those presidents. When we find out they have done so, we should hold them accountable. We should not say that it is just par for the course, especially given the thousands of lives such lies have cost us.

Additionally, allowing an attack to occur without response in order to lead a country to war would be a bad thing, assuming it happened. Emotionally manipulating a country into battle is dishonest and wrong. On the other hand, making a strategic decision to allow a town to be bombed on the presumption that it would save more lives to hide your abilites from your enemies is the sort of call you have to make in war. It sucks, but that is because war sucks. Keeping it private at the time is understandable, as the reason for not stopping the bombing in the first place is to preserve secrecy and thus, capability.

On the other hand, neither of these is similar to ignoring experts and, in fact, claiming exactly the opposite of their conclusions in order to lead the country to war. From what I know of history, that is much closer to how we entered the Vietnam War (Attack? What attack?) Those who made such deicisions ought to be decried at every turn for their deception. If the reasons you think we should go to war are not good enough for the nation, you shouldn't just make up other reasons that are good enough.

Lastly, this whole line of argument absolutely floors me, coming from the party those that impeached the last president for lying about sex, a matter that is by all accounts, much less heady and important to national health. I do think that lying under oath is wrong. I don't chalk it up to a realism that "all politicans lie." If and when they are caught lying, it should not being treated as acceptable. When we do so, we only make it more likely we will be lied to in the future.

The whole approach reminds me of my HS freshman who turn around and punch someone and then say they shouldn't get in trouble because the person looked at them funny. Not only does someone else's guilt not make you less culpable. Additionally, your crime is so much worse that it makes that other concern seem frivolous.

"Nor, if you want to be pedantic about it, is it Mike Godwin's concern."

I've read that Wired piece a number of times over the years, Anarch, but since you cited it, I had to go back to check that, indeed, he says absolutely not one thing about his concern, lack of concern, or anything about the fact that his Law is so endlessly mis-cited. He mentions Cliff Stoll's version that re-states it, and says nothing about the fact that it's the version that's commonly been substituted for, and called, "Godwin's Law."

I suppose one could cite that as evidence for Mike Godwin's lack of concern with the topic, in the same sense that it proves that he doesn't care about his wife, or what font the article is.

But then, I'm not clear what Mike Godwin's level of concern with the fact that most people mis-state Godwin's Law has to do with observing that most people mis-state Godwin's Law is factually so. Although as a digression, well, one can always start such a discussion, of course.

I probably shouldn't bother to post this, but since I've gone to the trouble of carefully rereading the damn piece twice in the last few minutes....

Awww F%&*. Must use preview. Well played JC. All the more appalling for the fact that there are likely others out there who aren't kidding when they say the exact same things.

"The fact that other presidents have lied us into war should make us decry those presidents. When we find out they have done so, we should hold them accountable."

For a relevant and accurate citation, I'm still pretty irate with President Polk.

Gary,

Yeah, I was kidding.

However - since we are way off-topic - would you agree that a, or probably several - memos saying "Japan preparing to attack U.S." went by Roosevelt's desk?

If my family is right, those type of messages definitely went to OSI. And I would assume they percolated up to Roosevelt.

Now, what does that mean?

You may say "sure, but that in no way means an attack was expected" - but then what should it mean?

Wrong thread - apologies...

A Confederate Yankee?

Is that a liberal who loves slavery?

"However - since we are way off-topic - would you agree that a, or probably several - memos saying "Japan preparing to attack U.S." went by Roosevelt's desk?"

Sure. But the Pacific: kinda big. Also: no timetable.

If we want to fault people for the Japanese attack, I'll pick on MacArthur for leaving his planes sitting out on Clark Field in the Phillipines after news was received of the air attack on Pearl Harbor.

"You may say "sure, but that in no way means an attack was expected" - but then what should it mean?"

It means that there was a general expectation among the knowledgeable that there was a serious danger of Japan announcing that they had declared war, and then their attacking somewhere, probably first striking in the Phillipines.

That there would be an air attack on Pearl Harbor was something considered by some, but certainly not expected by many; do you have any idea how far away from Japan Hawaii is?

Plus, to repeat, the whole "surprise attack" thing -- it turns out they involve "surprise."

:-)

On Coventry, there are many modern sources debunking the false tale; here's one. Basically, the story is the fault of RAF Group Captain F. W. Winterbotham, and Anthony Cave-Brown's Bodyguard of Lies, who both got it wrong, but weren't corrected by better history for a few years. See here and jump to "Coventry myth"; or see any number of other modern historians, particularly Ultra Goes to War by Ronald Lewin. See footnote 7 here.

Basically, people have a need to find simple explanations for things, and villains to blame. Occasionally such explanations are correct, but I recommend always being suspicious of such explanations, since they're more often wrong.

Gary,

You're a pistol, you're really funny. You're really funny.

Well, there goes The Dark Knight Returns.

And so formative of my youth, that incredible comic...

"that depends what the meaning of 'is' is"

This has driven me crazy for years. Looking at the transcript, Clinton may not have been at his most articulate, but his point makes sense.
To wit: do my wife and I "have a sexual relationship at this point in time"? On the one hand, Im at work & Id probably get fired for that. OTOH, we do get around to having sex occasionally, so that is part of our relationship. The answer to the quesstion depends on the broadness of the questioner's 'present moment'.

That's all that he was saying- he didnt want to say that he had, at that moment, a sexual relationship with ML, but he didn't want to deny that he had had one in the past. Trying to explain that, he said something funny, but it isn't indicative of any trickery on his part.

Well, there goes The Dark Knight Returns.

And so formative of my youth, that incredible comic...

And so realistic.

Truthfully, I'm forgetting where Pearl Harbor or Coventry are referred to in it; it's been a while since I last read it (still haven't seen Miller's more recent Strikes Again).

Gordon refers to the "Roosevelt knew about Japan bombing" legend.

And you don't really need to read Strikes Again, somewhat amusing, but mostly a waste of time.

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