Fat Steve's Blatherings

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hold on, Bush DID Lie Us Into War!


        As the President has begun to defend himself against accusations of lying us into war, various reporters are quite upset.  I sympathize.  Once you break the Donkey code, you see that they're in the right.
  • Under Clinton, the Intelligence Community used to say they were gathering information on Iraq, although frequently they offered assumptions as fact.

  • Then Clinton would make speeches about the Iraqi Menace, complete with the 'Intelligence Community's latest information;' he'd say something had to be done, before it was too late.  He'd sign laws saying it was our policy to overthrow Saddam, and talk about using the Iraqi National Congress to pull a coup.

  • But, after making a lot of noise, the Philanderer in Chief would ask the Axis of Honest Weasels for military assistance (their motto: 'We STAY bribed'), get turned down, and drop the subject, along with a few bombs or cruise missiles.  Wag the Dog.

  • Along came that crazy cowboy liar, W., who said all the same things President Tumescence did, made the same threats, asked the same psuedo-allies for help, got the same refusals, and then dishonestly went ahead and did what he'd threatened he'd do.

  • It's like a classic Jewish joke.  A:"That bastard Meyer lied to me!" B:"What did he do?" A:"He told me he was going to Minsk.  So naturally, I thought he was trying to trick me, and was actually going to Pinsk.  And then he went to Minsk!"  W. lied to them by telling a truth he knew they wouldn't believe, and they're justifiably angry that he fooled them.

  • How's a Democrat supposed to deal with political honesty?  The Donks know they'll lose again if they tell the truth.

At Length:

        Almost two years ago, psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer described Bush and Murdoch Derangement Syndromes.  Bush Derangement Syndrome is characterized by:
        the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush.

        In the closely related Murdoch Derangement Syndrome:
        otherwise normal people believe that their minds are being controlled by a single, very clever Australian.

        Lately, Pat "Dr. Sanity" Santy has also chimed in on this subject.  But with all due respect, I don't think the Democrats are deranged.  They're not even particularly dishonest, just speaking in code.  The Donks have very real grievances.

        Not that political derangement doesn't exist.  The late Murray Rothbard, an anarcho-Libertarian icon, was almost delirious with joy at the conquest of South Viet Nam and Cambodia.  'Look, look, two states have died!'  Later, when two million people had died, Rothbard was associated with Inquiry magazine, where the big international human rights issue was East Timor.  Indonesia, a thoroughly "evil" state (translation from anarcho-libertarian into English: 'Indonesia, whose rulers were sometimes friendly to the U.S.') was oppressing the population of East Timor.  We all ought to be concerned and paying attention and . . . and more concerned, and paying more attention.  Since the only people who could do anything about this were Western governments with strong armed forces, and since the only thing an anarcho-Libertarian would approve of the government doing was meeting to proclaim its permanent dissolution, the people of East Timor would just have to keep on suffering — but with our concern!  Now that, friends, is derangement.

        Now look at Garrison Keillor.  Keillor loved the Republicans that were typical of his youth (they almost always lost), but hates the Party of Reagan and Gingrich ('They re-elected Bush and kept control of Congress?  Who ordered that?!').  Keillor is slightly addled by the GOP (see his comments about not getting angry, which follow paragraphs of bile), but hey, the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement put an unreconstructed big spending New Deal Democrat trade union leader at the head of their movement.  Trying to wrap your head around that would confuse anyone.

        Just lately, the Republican Party, and the right blogosphere wants Democratic talking points about the Iraq War to correspond to reality.  The nerve!  As this story in the Democratic Party's house organ puts it:
        The White House is right that many Democrats, including some of the same senators who are now criticizing Mr. Bush most vociferously over the war, expressed concerns about Iraq's weapons programs in the months and years before the invasion. . . .

        But many of those Democrats have said that they now believe they were misled by the administration in the way it presented the prewar intelligence. . . .

        On Monday, at a stop in Alaska en route to Japan, Mr. Bush again said that the Democratic criticism was irresponsible and that "investigations of the intelligence on Iraq have concluded that only one person manipulated evidence and misled the world - and that person was Saddam Hussein."

        But what Mr. Bush left unaddressed was the question of how his administration used that intelligence, which was full of caveats, subtleties and contradiction, to make the case for war.

        Now at first glance, this may look like a pile of bullstuff, as Joe Bob would say.  Taken literally, it's a lie.  Crude Jacksonians will use a search engine, and find former CIA Analyst and later National Security Council staffer Kenneth Pollack who wrote:
        In the late spring of 2002 I participated in a Washington meeting about Iraqi WMD.  Those present included nearly twenty former inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), the force established in 1991 to oversee the elimination of WMD in Iraq.  One of the senior people put a question to the group: Did anyone in the room doubt that Iraq was currently operating a secret centrifuge plant?  No one did.  Three people added that they believed Iraq was also operating a secret calutron plant (a facility for separating uranium isotopes).

        Other nations' intelligence services were similarly aligned with U.S. views.  Somewhat remarkably, given how adamantly Germany would oppose the war, the German Federal Intelligence Service held the bleakest view of all, arguing that Iraq might be able to build a nuclear weapon within three years.  . . . In sum, no one doubted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. [Emphasis in original]

        So simple minded Red Staters, and us spiritual Red Staters stuck in the Blue, would think 'Well, it looks like if there was any intelligence manipulation, it was done by the intelligence community.  The Bush Administration just made the mistake of believing them.'

        That's an understandable conclusion, but sadly mistaken.  Consider that phrase that it was remarkable that German intelligence would present the data it did when Germany would oppose the war.  The obvious inference is that if the Germans thought Bush would act against Saddam, they would have said something different.  Read further, and you find Pollack complaining about the way Administration "handled" the intelligence:
        The U.S. intelligence community's belief toward the end of the Clinton Administration that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear program and was close to acquiring nuclear weapons led me and other Administration officials to support the idea of a full-scale invasion of Iraq, albeit not right away [emphasis added].  The NIE's judgment to the same effect was the real linchpin of the Bush Administration's case for an invasion. . . .

      At that point [1997] it was reasonable for Saddam to believe that in the not too distant future the sanctions either would be lifted or would be so undermined as to be effectively meaningless, and that he would never have to reveal the remaining elements of his WMD programs.  Only in 2002, when the Bush Administration suddenly focused its attention on Iraq, would Saddam have had any reason to change this view.  And then, according to a variety of Iraqi sources, he simply refused to believe that the Americans were serious and would actually invade [emphasis added].

        I had been convinced that Iraq was only years away from having a nuclear weapon — probably only four or five years, as Robert Einhorn had testified.  That estimate was clearly off, possibly by quite a bit.  My reluctant conviction that war was our only option (although not at the time or in the manner in which the Bush Administration pursued it) was not entirely based on the nuclear threat, but that threat was the most important factor in it. [emphasis added]

        The war was not all bad.  . . . What's more, we should not forget that containment was failing.  The shameful performance of the United Nations Security Council members (particularly France and Germany) in 2002-2003 was final proof that containment would not have lasted much longer; Saddam would eventually have reconstituted his WMD programs, although further in the future than we had thought.  That said, the case for war — and for war sooner rather than later — was certainly less compelling than it appeared at the time.  At the very least we should recognize that the Administration's rush to war was reckless even on the basis of what we thought we knew in March of 2003.  It appears even more reckless in light of what we know today.

        So, Pollack was 'clearly possibly' wrong.  Containment would have failed, and Saddam would have reconstituted his arsenal of WMDs.  The situation would have been in fact what Pollack thought it was when he called for Saddam's removal, and barring a miracle, we would have had to go to war eventually.  The longer we waited, the tougher it would have been.  Conclusion: Bush should have stalled another decade.  Even Democratic "hawks" like Pollack were bluffing when they called for war.  Actually invading Iraq was not supposed to be an option.

        Once you grasp that, then you can understand a passage like this one of Pollack's:
        Another problem arising from the machinations of the OSP [Office of Special Plans] is that whenever the principals of the National Security Council met with the President and his staff, two completely different versions of reality were on the table.  The CIA, the State Department, and the uniformed military services would present one version, consistent with the perspective of intelligence and foreign-policy professionals, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Office of the Vice President would present another, based on the perspective of the OSP.  These views were too far apart to allow for compromise [note well — Pollack, faced with differences of opinion, doesn't think that the truth about reality should be pursued relentlessly while admitting present uncertainty; he thinks the "Intelligence Community" should negotiate on a story — St. O.].  As a result, the Administration found it difficult, if not impossible, to make certain important decisions.

        A near-barbarian, someone like, well, moi, would read that and say
'Huh?  Sept. 11th, 2001, the hijacking attacks.  Sept. 12th to Oct. 6th, Special forces infiltrate Afghanistan.  October to December, 2001 we liberate Afghanistan.  In 2002, some guerrilla warfare continues in Afghanistan, but by July 23rd, 2002, "C," the head of Her Majesty's Secret Service, says
        There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable.  Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.

        'The only important decision was made, and fairly quickly: invade Iraq and get rid of Saddam.  About time, people.'

        The near-barbarian is technically correct, but to people like Pollack, the important decisions were 'What excuse for putting off war should we use now?'  W. was supposed to talk tough and take no action, leaving Iraq for the next Administration to 'deal with' by also talking tough and taking no action.

        So the MSM/Democratic Party/anti-American claim that Bush lied is perfectly correct.  Bush went around saying the same kind of thing that Clinton had said.  They expected him to do the same kind of thing Clinton did — nothing.  Instead, that damned liar W. said that Saddam had to go, and meant it.  I quite believe Jay Rockefeller when he said:
        We authorized him [President Bush] to continue working with the United Nations, and then if that failed, authorized him to use force to enforce the sanctions.

        How could Rockefeller expect the liar in the Oval Office would take the "Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq," as a warrant to destroy Saddam and change the regime, just because it said the President should "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq"?  Why, it's like going to a pro wrestling match that isn't fixed.

        And what are the Democrats supposed to do now?  Admit they weren't serious?  Say that their policy is to resume the course that led to 9/11?  Swear they'll never fight a war unless the enemy is as stupid as Afghanistan, and gives them no choice?  Admit that when it comes to states that seek nuclear weapons and support terrorism, they intend to cross their fingers and hope nothing bad happens till after they retire?  They can't win general elections with those policies!  But they can't survive the activist-dominated primaries without them.

        And aside from the war issue, the Republicans aren't any different.  They campaign as conservatives, get elected, then spend like drunken New Dealers.  Where do they get off, fighting wars like New Dealers too?  Nope, it just ain't fair.  And what's worse, it works.  The Democratic Party doesn't deserve our votes, but it does deserve our sympathy.

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  • Wow, this is entirely too long to read when I am supposed to be working. Have to wait until the weekend.

    By Blogger Ralph, at 9:19 AM  

  • That is the finest translation of Libspeak I've ever seen. ^_~

    By Blogger Towering Barbarian, at 9:53 PM  

  •         Hi Towering, nice to hear from you again.  Thanks, for the compliment, and please spread the word.

            But I want to emphasize, I think the Democrats are sincere.  I, really, truly, literally don't believe it occurred to them that the Republicans in general, and Bush in particular, would go to war in circumstances when they wouldn't.  Like the idiots at Kent State and Jackson State, who couldn't believe the guns were loaded with ball, and might be used, the liberals in Congress just didn't believe Bush was going to take out Saddam and install a democratic regime.

            They aren't lying when they said they were misled.  Bush snookered them completely, and did it by telling the exact truth as he thought he knew it.  A kinder man than I would find that sad; I just laugh.

    The House of Saud Must Be Destroyed!

    By Blogger Stephen M. St. Onge, at 10:49 PM  

  • Like I have been saying, "Finally, someone had the balls to do it!"

    *an ex-Democrat and proud*

    By Anonymous Christine, at 2:19 AM  

  • Christine:

            The day I read the story saying that military operations would commence if Saddam and his brats didn't leave the country within 48 hours, I copied it to my old computer's hard drive with the title "At Fucking Last!"

            And the day Saddam's sorry ass was captured, hiding in a hole in the ground, someone asked me if I thought it was a good day and I said that it was an utterly marvelous day.

            So you see I agree with you.

            But I very much thank you for the post, as it gave me a slogan for the 2008 election: "The Clintons: Let's hope Hillary has some balls, 'cause Bill was 100% dick."

    Fat Steve (though not nearly as fat as I used to be)

    The House of Saud Must Be Destroyed!

    By Blogger Stephen M. St. Onge, at 12:38 PM  

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