He Don’t Know Shiite (Neither does Pelosi)

Nancy Pelosi seems determined to appoint either a crook - Alcee Hastings - or a fool - Silvestre Reyes - to head the House Intelligence Committee. When Congressional Quarterly asked him about Al Qaeda, Reyes thought that they were “Predominantly - probably Shiite.” This is not a small detail.

It is like saying the KKK is a black fraternal organization. I didn't believe it when Dems claimed that Bush fooled them about pre-war intelligence. Now that I see how they are, I believe them (or at least I believe they believe it.)

There is a qualified democrat who was in line to head the Intelligence Committee chair. That would be California's Jane Harman, but Nancy Pelosi doesn’t like her. It is a personal problem. Pelosi takes a lot of things personally. She likes the ethically challenged (Murtha & Hastings) and the cognitively challenged (Reyes), but not the smart woman from her own state. She is willing to put her country's intelligence in the hands of someone without much of his own. What does that say about her?

Could Pelosi be leadership challenged?

Oh yeah, when they asked Reyes about Hezbollah, he responded, "Why do you ask me these questions at five o'clock?"

Posted by Jack at December 14, 2006 3:04 PM
Comments
Comment #199282

Yep! It’s a real problem when you have clueless people in leadership positions.

During their conversation with the President, Galbraith claims, it became apparent to them that Bush was unfamiliar with the distinction between Sunnis and Shiites.

Posted by: muirgeo at December 14, 2006 3:21 PM
Comment #199283

I don’t know how earthshaking the news is that Reyes did not know where Al Qaeda draws most of its membership. I am not even sure if it is so pertinent to his new position as head of Senate intelligence, as this committee does not collect and analyze information, it oversees the organizations that do. It would be nice to know that members of Congress could give perfect, accurate answers to any question posed to them but that is not real world.
Remember when w came up empty on knowing the names of rather obscure world leaders when he was a candidate in 2000. You still voted for the idiot, didn’t you?

Posted by: Charles Ross at December 14, 2006 3:22 PM
Comment #199286

If all this is true, it is disturbing. It reminds me of the ambassador’s claim that, shortly before the Iraq War, Bush didn’t know there were two major sects of Islam.

As late as this year, many Bush counterterrorism officials didn’t know the difference between a Shiite and a Sunni.

To paraphrase Jack, could our president and his administration be leadership challenged?

Posted by: Trent at December 14, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #199287

Damn, I got beat to the punch.

Posted by: Trent at December 14, 2006 3:29 PM
Comment #199289

“It is like saying the KKK is a black fraternal organization.”

No so Jack, its like asking if the KKK is Catholic or Baptist.

Posted by: 037 at December 14, 2006 3:39 PM
Comment #199294

There is a great deal of difference between entering the White House from outside of Washington, D.C., and not knowing the names of certain World leaders, then comparing this to having been in a War on Terror upon which there have been numerous briefs and current information available to any and all House and Senate members. To not know the basic details of anything going on in Iraq or Afghanistan speaks volumes for the incompetence of Democratic leaders and the stances they have taken in this struggle. How can we possibly take them seriously?
Comparing this to G.W. not knowing the names of a few World leaders before having met with them is like asking my ten year old the names of all of my co-workers. Just because his Dad has met with some, it does not mean he should personally know them all.

JD

Posted by: JD at December 14, 2006 4:00 PM
Comment #199295

Oh, bullshirt, JD!

The man wanted to be President! He is still lacking many a clue.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 14, 2006 4:04 PM
Comment #199296

You are right Jack. Pelosi should have put Harman in the chair. We already know that Harman is on the payrole of a foreign government.

Posted by: jlw at December 14, 2006 4:07 PM
Comment #199298

Didn’t bother reading any links, did you, JD? I don’t know how you can possibly exclude Bush and officials in his administration from the same criticism. And no, I’m not talking about Bush before the 2000 election. Gotta watch that over-the-top rhetoric; it can bite you in the ass.

Jack tossed off this article before considering the very obvious responses.

Beyond that, the deeper issue is that we want knowledgeable people guiding policy.

Posted by: Trent at December 14, 2006 4:22 PM
Comment #199300

Jack,
Really cheap, slurring Pelosi. The “do you know the difference between a Shiite & a Sunni” question was posed by the NY Times to top officials at the FBI responsible for security & counterterrorism, a seven-term Alabama Republican who is vice chairman of the House intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical intelligence, and others. It is also well known that neither Bush nor Wolfowitz understood there was a difference before encouraging this country to go to war.

While it is disturbing that top officials from both parties do not know what they are doing, it is important to realize neither party one has a monopoly on ignorance, and the party currently in power, the Republican party, has acted upon their ignorance while pretending to be knowledgable, resulting in the deaths of over 600,000 Iraqis.

Posted by: phx8 at December 14, 2006 4:48 PM
Comment #199301

To not know the basic details of anything going on in Iraq or Afghanistan speaks volumes for the incompetence of Democratic leaders and the stances they have taken in this struggle.

It would have helped if the Republican leaders for the past six years had bothered to hold hearings — or even work full time.

Posted by: Steve K at December 14, 2006 4:55 PM
Comment #199307

Steve K

It would have helped if the Republican leaders for the past six years had bothered to hold hearings — or even work full time.

It also would have helped if the republicans had made any attempt to work with the democrats. For the last six years the republicans actually worked at partisanship, shutting out the dems and refusing to allow them input or insight on many many issues.

Posted by: Ildem at December 14, 2006 5:15 PM
Comment #199308


Jack: Speaking of appointments, I bet you can guess in a nanosecond who will be walking point for the administration in Syria.

Posted by: jlw at December 14, 2006 5:16 PM
Comment #199313

Jack-

Jane Harmon is not a steller candidate for the job either. She’s been caught with a hand in the cookie jar a few times. I found this with a quick google search.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-hayden/why-jane-harman-should-be_b_21306.html

Her fallout with Pelosi is also more complex than her being a republican lapdog.

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-harmanpelosi21nov21,1,4579816.story?coll=la-headlines-politics

Pelosi has always valued loyalty over quality. So has and does this current white house administration. And two wrongs don’t equal a right. The big problem facing democrats in the next few years is that the most popular ideas and candidates are low on the seniority list. Of course, this often goes for republicans as well. There is just no way for anyone other than the voters of that state to oust the awnry old republican from Texas or the tree-hugging liberal from San Francisco, for example. And being in Washington for extended years demands respect in party politics.

phx-

I loved that NYT piece. I was utterly dumbfounded to learn how many policy-makers are clueless about the most fundemental aspects regarding the religious makeup of Iraq. I think I even posted something about it in one of the past threads. It made me feel enlightened by comparison. And that is sad considering the difference in the amount and quality of information available to us.

Maybe its time for a constitutional amendment requiring all leaders to read and be able to fully comprehend anything they put their signature on. They can have a panel of experts do random audits asking them simple questions. Their pay will be directly tied to their performance on these pop-quizes. They would also be made public for use in future campaigns.

A bit extreme, I know. But dammit. These people are even deciding policies that directly affect how are kids are taught. That is scary stuff.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 14, 2006 6:01 PM
Comment #199314

Jack

In light of how little our commander in chief or apparently anyone else in his administration knew about Iraq and its culture before invading, I do not think it is very bright of you to make such an accusation. As I recall it was so called failed intelligence under W’s watch that supposedly led to our failed attempt at the recovery of WMD. It has been said by many that the failure is a result of failed leadership. A corrupt, leaderhip challenged repbulican administration. And looking back I am wondering just how many republican dept heads have been replaced over the last six years due to incompetance, criminal activities, or an unwillingness to march in step. And lets face it Bush tried to fool the whole world as to our reasons for invasion. Some bit, some had no choice, some of us saw thru it.

Whomever she selects will be briefed and brought up to date when the time comes. I bet if one asked, the greater majority of american citizens would not be able to name all the various factions and their relationships in this atrocious mess. The evolution of constantly changeing convenient strategies has led to nothing but confusion and left most wondering just what is or was our mission in that country.

How about letting Pelosi do some leading, and maybe wait for some results before throwing her in the frying pan. Or are you maybe one of those people who does not believe that women belong in such powerful positions.

Posted by: ILdem at December 14, 2006 6:01 PM
Comment #199316
Oh yeah, when they asked Reyes about Hezbollah, he responded, “Why do you ask me these questions at five o’clock?”

It’s a retrieval problem.
Had you asked at four o’clock, he would have had the answer ?

Or, more likely, he never had a clue ?

Reminds me of Trent Lott (R-MS) … when Trent Lott was asked (Oct-2003) whether he favored any policy changes in Iraq, Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) responded:

“We need to have a different mix of troops, is the key. We may need to move some troops around.”
Lott then suggested moving more troops from the relatively stable south closer to the region around Tikrit, where attacks on U.S. forces have been common.
Lott said there was a need for more trained military police, adding that his comments were not a criticism (Hmmmm … so, who is training the insurgents?).
Trent Lott said:
“Honestly, it’s a little tougher than I thought it was going to be.”
Lott, somewhat frustrated, then offered a very strange military solution:
“If we have to, we just mow the whole place down, see what happens. You’re dealing with insane suicide bombers who are killing our people, and we need to be very aggressive in taking them out.”

Later, Trent Lott (R-MS) was quoted (28-Sep-2006) as saying he didn’t understand why Sunni and Shiite Muslims are killing each other in Iraq. Trent Lott said:

It’s hard for Americans, all of us, including me, to understand what’s wrong with these people,” he said. “Why do they kill people of other religions because of religion? Why do they hate the Israeli’s and despise their right to exist? Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me.

: (

Jack wrote: Now that I see how they are, I believe them (or at least I believe they believe it.
Yep. It’s amazing that some of these people make it to the U.S. Congress. Perhaps there was a mistake somewhere in the selection process. Perhaps, what should have been a detriment to running for office somehow became a pre-requisite ?
  • Posted by: d.a.n at December 14, 2006 6:06 PM
    Comment #199318

    As bad as Harman is(just happens to be my districts Represenative) she is more qualified that the other clowns that were considered. It’s pretty well known that Nancy doesn’t like her and personally and would not appoint her head of the committee. Nothing like putting your personal axe grinding ahead of the interests of the country.

    Posted by: Carnak at December 14, 2006 6:10 PM
    Comment #199319

    Kevin23,
    Yes, the NY Times article was an eye-opener. Here is the link.
    Every so often, someone pulls the curtain aside and we have a Wizard of Oz moment. Not the good kind, either.

    This article came out the other day.

    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N06193252.htm

    We are utterly doomed in Iraq. There is no question. Here we are, it is nearly 2007, and in our huge embassy which is on the cutting edge of the “central front in the war of terror,” 96% of the employees do not even speak the language of the country. That is the kind of thing which… I dunno. What can be said? With so many incompetent people in high places, it is a wonder anything ever gets accomplished.

    Posted by: phx8 at December 14, 2006 6:41 PM
    Comment #199320

    Pardon, here is the link for NY Times article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/17/opinion/17stein.html?ei=5088&en=c5709ea7c5631b3f&ex=1318737600&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=all

    Posted by: phx8 at December 14, 2006 6:43 PM
    Comment #199323

    Muirego, Trent, Charles et al

    Al Qaeda has been trying to stir trouble by killing Shiites for the last couple of years. It is something everybody who reads the papers now knows. I am not saying we all know all the nuances. I bet that most people in the U.S. do not know the fundamental doctrinal differences between Catholics and Protestants in the U.S., but they probably could tell you that the Pope is not Lutheran.

    It is a big mistake. It is not a small detail. IF Bush said anything like that, it would certainly be front page news.

    The tragedy is not that we have this unqualified person in line to be in charge (or that some Republicans are just as stupid). The issue is that the Dems have perfectly good, smart candidates. Yet Pelosi refuses to use them out of her personal pique.

    037

    No it is not. Being Sunni is part of Al Qaeda’s definition.

    Woman et al

    I am sure that I could not pass a test of naming most world leaders. You could certainly catch me on the leaders of most of Africa, a lot of S. America and Asia … well the whole world. I would do much better than average, but not many people could get more than 25%.

    It is a big difference not knowing this very important fact about Al Qaeda.

    The argument you all are making is that Democrats are no dumber than Republicans. I bet that is true over all. But we are talking about one man being named to a specific job. He is not the best qualified AMONG THE DEMOCRATS AVAILABLE.

    Trent

    Believe me. I anticipated ALL these responses and I am enjoying them. I was waiting for this time. Dems have for several years said that they were smarter, more competent etc. Now we are clearly seeing they are not. You all have not noticed the shift in the correlation of forces. Now Dems are on defense. Some Republicans are dumb. I promise we will not make them the head of the House Intelligence Committee and ask you to promise the same on your side.

    Phx8

    See above. I am sure Wolfowitz knew, BTW. The Republican chairman is now history. The Dems are today’s news. Ball in your court now.

    Ildem

    We will see how bipartisan the Dems are now. See above to Trent. The hot potato is now in the Dem’s lap. It is going to be much more fun for the red bloggers this year than last. Playing offense is always more fun.

    Re being nice to Pelosi - I am much nicer to her than Dems were to Bush in 2000 (not to mention 2004). I have not called her any names, just questioned her judgment.

    Kevin23

    Sorry. I thought there was a good Dem for the post. If you got nothing, I am sorry. I would not be bragging about that if I were you.

    Posted by: Jack at December 14, 2006 6:46 PM
    Comment #199324

    Jack-

    What are you talking about? Why would anything I said be contradictory or embarrasing in any way?

    Posted by: Kevin23 at December 14, 2006 6:55 PM
    Comment #199332

    Jack, the White House has the need to know the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds in detail. Congress does not militate or negotiate in Iraq. Perhaps a civics 101 course is in order.

    Intelligence oversight by Congress is there to review whether the Executive is following the laws of this land and international agreements to which we are party, and to oversee how taxpayers funds are being spent. Neither requires an immersion in the history and culture of Shiites, Sunnis, or Kurds.

    Now, if only someone had checked to see if the Executive was interested in that kind of information, we might not be in the Iraq mess we are in. Nice attempt at redirecting responsibility and blame their, Jack. But, it doesn’t fly past this one.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 14, 2006 7:17 PM
    Comment #199334

    No Jack, you’re just playing partisan ball. If you had written an article saying, hey, look at the silliness of our leaders re: Iraq, and then produced a balanced article, we’d all be agreeing and perhaps discussing ways to improve the situation. But that’s not your intent here. It’s so one-sided as to be absurd, especially given how vulnerable your guys are to the same type of charges. Nary a hostile word have I heard you speak about the leaders of your party when they clearly deserved being taken to task — instead you talk of “fog of war,” or “unintended consequences,” or “20-20 hindsight,” etc., etc.

    I find it extremely distressing that it’s very apparent that many high officials and operatives have, apparently, never read one relevant book. I get no pleasure out of the incompetence of our leaders, no matter what party. This is our country we’re talking about! You treat it as a sports rivalry; you say you are eager to gloat over Democratic screwups!

    Posted by: Trent at December 14, 2006 7:23 PM
    Comment #199346

    Kevin

    I said there was a good Dem to take the place of the dumb Dem. You told me that this woman too was bad. Do you have any good candidates for the job?

    David

    The people who supply the information at State, NSC and DOD know (and new) very well the differences. I agree that there are some Republicans are dumb as the Dems.

    Trent

    Yes, I am playing partisan ball (and winning the game BTW). If you notice, I tend to do about four less partisan articles for every partisan one. My article on the Kurds, martial law etc. were designed to look for bipartisan solutions. This one is supposed to stick it to someone who deserves to be ridiculed - Nancy Pelosi. She is the one who lobbed this underhand pitch. I cannot help but smack it.

    Posted by: Jack at December 14, 2006 8:21 PM
    Comment #199351

    Jack,

    I was much more concerned to read this statement about the Democratic promise to further implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations:

    “I don’t think there’s a lot more there,” said James Carafano, homeland security fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative-oriented Washington think tank. “I think we’re done.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2677460

    I’d also ask a real dumb question: Did the 9/11 hijackers look Sunni?

    Saudi Arabia is primarily Sunni, but Iran is primarily Shia. Which presents the greatest threat?

    How many members of the Iraqi government we helped put in place are known present or past members of Al-Dawa? (spoiler-That would be both Ibrahim al-Jaafari and Nouri al-Maliki) So, what does this have to do with Sunni vs. Shiite?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Dawa_Party

    So, what will any of this have to do with Reyes’ ability to chair the House Intelligence Committee? I’d say very little or none. What is the goal and purpose of the committee?

    “Although it is important to have a robust intelligence capability, it is also important to have an effective oversight process to ensure that intelligence resources are not misused and that intelligence activities are conducted lawfully.”

    http://intelligence.house.gov/AboutTheCommittee.aspx?Section=1

    It’s all a matter of oversight. I believe, as I’m sure Nancy Pelosi does, that Reyes will provide that oversight. I doubt that he’ll be asked to determine the religious affiliation of anyone by sight during his tenure.

    BTW, how do you tell the difference between an Evangelical Christian and a Catholic? Dumb question, huh? How could we have identified Tim McVeigh or Terry Nichols as “different”?

    Posted by: KansasDem at December 14, 2006 8:55 PM
    Comment #199352

    KansanDem

    The problem with Reyes is that if he does not know some of the common components of what his committee is dealing with, how can he effectively recommend policy or legislation that is sound. One must know his enemy and if he does not know his enemy and he is in a seat of authority, we have a problem.

    Posted by: tomh at December 14, 2006 9:03 PM
    Comment #199353

    Kansas

    I suppose that is the reason all those Dems who had been on the intelligence committee and read many of the same things for decades can claim they were fooled by Bush. They do not really know what they are looking at.

    It is surprising that Dems do not think that actual intelligence is an important qualification to be on the Intelligence Committee. Maybe not so surprising.

    I am just enjoying watching the Dems limp now that the shoe is on the other foot.

    Posted by: Jack at December 14, 2006 9:04 PM
    Comment #199354

    Apparently, Jack, you hold Democrats to a much higher standard than you do Republicans. Remember, though, that in rhetoric, ethos is just as important as logos and pathos.

    Posted by: Trent at December 14, 2006 9:18 PM
    Comment #199357

    Trent

    Same standard. Dems sure told me about the Republican problems. Even more than there actually were. I am just pointing out the same for them & with much less rancor.

    Posted by: Jack at December 14, 2006 9:30 PM
    Comment #199362

    tomh,

    Please tell me what those common components are. Would they include violating the rights of Americans?

    I’d love to know what your idea of profiling includes. I’ve already asked if the 9/11 hijackers looked Sunni or Shia. What else do you need to know?

    Posted by: KansasDem at December 14, 2006 10:08 PM
    Comment #199363

    Jack-

    As a life-long republican, I’m not sure how it becomes my responsibility to find quality democrats. But I guess if I had to pick someone off the top of my head, how about Leonard Boswell from Iowa? Seems to have a decent resume, and I’m not aware of any scandals. He doesn’t vote straight down party lines.

    But honestly, I don’t know much about the democrats on the committee. John McHugh is the only member I really know anything about. I give him mixed reviews.

    Posted by: Kevin23 at December 14, 2006 10:18 PM
    Comment #199365

    Jack,

    I don’t understand what you’re saying in your last post. You say, “all those Dems who had been on the intelligence committee and read many of the same things for decades can claim they were fooled by Bush”. Bush? Decades? Huh?

    Color me “dumb”. I just don’t get what you’re saying. I’ll catch you tommorrow.

    Posted by: KansasDem at December 14, 2006 10:26 PM
    Comment #199378

    Wasnt Hastings acquited? Decent people would have recinded his impeachment. But then that is not who we are dealing with.

    If there had been a stronger opponent in Harmon,s district she would not have gotten through the primary. If she had done a “lieborman” and ran as an independant the Republicans there could not have elected her even if all 87 of them voted for her.

    Posted by: BillS at December 15, 2006 2:17 AM
    Comment #199381

    Kansas

    Some Dems like John Kerry were members of the intelligence committee a decade before Bush became president. Bush was still in private business when Kerry, Rockefeller et al were already getting the inside story about Saddam. Presumably, they were getting intelligence reports about Iraq (among other things) regularly during the Clinton Administration and before. The Bush Administration had been in office just over a year. The Senators were the ones with decades long experience with this problem. This is one of the reasons we have this check and balance. You will also recall that the Senate was Democratically controlled in 2001-2. When in 2002, they were asked to judge the topics of war and peace, and whether Saddam was a threat that needed immidiate intention, they said he was and voted in that way.

    When the war did not go as well as good people hoped, these same experienced senators and congressmen were, shocked - shocked - to find they were wrong and claimed to be misled.

    The question is, “How stupid do you have to be to be fooled if you have been studying the subject for ten years?” Senators like Kerry are either grotesquely stupid, incompetent or lying about their being misled. I did not think they could be that dumb. I used to just assumed they were lying. Now that I see the Dem intelligence that goes into the intelligence committees, I understand that the stupid option might be the operative one.

    Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2006 7:29 AM
    Comment #199384

    Oh, so know we have to revisit the timelines, the president refusing to get final authorization from the UN as he promised, etc., etc., all so posters won’t be mislead by your article, all so you can indulge your desire to treat life and death issues as a game. Bleh. Maybe another time.

    Posted by: Trent at December 15, 2006 8:09 AM
    Comment #199387

    Jack-
    The trouble is, even most intelligence committee members were asked to examine the evidence without the clearance to see everything. Bush restricted classified intelligence to a few top members of congress.

    So, how exactly were folks supposed to learn the problems of Bush’s evidence if they were not even allowed to look at it? As for Reyes, I’m pretty disappointed about his answer. I’d like somebody better informed, but there are, of course, some additional issues.

    If we have to settle for Reyes, we can only hope that this incident convinces him that its in his best interest to become better educated. Otherwise I hope for a better choice

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 15, 2006 8:51 AM
    Comment #199389

    Well Silvestre Reyes if he could not spell his own name correctly would be a better choice than the Bush apologist Pat Roberts, at least Reyes would investigate an outing of one of our Countries intelleigence agents. All and all Jack its a step up from the 109th. Maybe not a big step but then sometimes progress comes in small steps and yes I realize that really doesnt say a whole lot but such is the times we live in. After all most of the 109th is still with us.

    Posted by: j2t2 at December 15, 2006 9:09 AM
    Comment #199391

    The truth is, Bush wanted this war long before 9/11. The attack on the World Trade Center gave him an excuse. The administration mislead the public about Saddam’s involvement. It’s extremely telling that even today many Americans believe he was responsible. Cooked intelligence data, the suppression of evidence against WMD, fear-mongering — this administration took full advantage of the rhetorical moment to justify an attack on Iraq. This is all public record, of course, as is this administration’s refusal to fullfill its promise to get final UN approval. Jack and others make much of the Congress vote authorizing military force, but they don’t tell the whole story —

    What’s disgusting is that Jack knows all this but perversely, for the sake of playing debating games, is willingly engaging in the sin of ommission. If all this weren’t so important, it might be fun, but it is important, and it’s not fun. Many want to ignore the truth, and Jack, though he knows better, is playing along.

    Now, do I blame the Democrats for going along with all this? Damn right I do. Many no doubt did know better but went with the political winds. But ignoring this administration’s mendacity merely to score debating points — feh.

    Here’s a timeline leading up the war:

    http://www.rawstory.com/exclusives/muriel/path_of_war_timeline_613.htm

    Posted by: Trent at December 15, 2006 9:17 AM
    Comment #199394

    BillS

    Hastings was impeached by the US Senate and removed as a federal judge. That means he is guilty of the impeachment charges.

    Congress is go out of control. There are far too many people “working” there that have no idea of a real life. Power, Power, Power. Re-elect, Re-elect, Re-elect. This is true of both parties and not all inclusive but far too many of both parties do not serve their country or the citizens of their districts in a manner that is upright and worthy of their hire.

    Posted by: tomh at December 15, 2006 11:11 AM
    Comment #199395

    Stepehen, Trent et al


    I just find the Dem Senator claim that they were misled disingenuous. Even if they did not see everything, they had been working on this problem sometimes for decades. They had the experience from the Gulf War. AND the Dems controlled the Senate in 2001-2. If they were misled, they wanted to be misled. I am not blaming them. My point is (and has been) that the information available to thoughtful people before the war led them to make a logical assumption that Saddam was a threat. Dems can claim they were mistaken, but they really cannot claim they were misled, unless they simultaneously use a stupidity defense.

    Trent

    Your timeline does not include President CLINTON’S 1998 declaration that regime change in Iraq was U.S. policy or U.S. Grand Jury indictment of bin Laden that mentions his cooperation with Iraq. We know lots of things now that we did not know back then. Based on subsequent information, we would have done things much differently. But Bush was using the same sort of information that Clinton had used and that Democratic Senators had seen for years. They all arrived at similar conclusions.

    We cannot allow people to rewrite history based on what happened later. Every historian knows that subsequent events cannot have caused previous ones.

    When a decision goes bad, we look for someone to blame. We take into account what we know today in judging the decision made yesterday. This is a valid judgment of the wisdom of the decision, but not of the process.

    Posted by: Jackj at December 15, 2006 11:27 AM
    Comment #199411

    Jack,

    I suspect history, at least mainstream history, will bear out the criticisms on this administration. In a lot of ways, I think the Dems were sucker punched. As you know, many voted to authorize force not because they thought war was going to happen but because they wanted to allow the president the stick he wanted to threaten war. That’s why the broken promise to seek further UN authorization was such a betrayal. And of course, Congress’ authorization was subsequently used against those members who voted to authorize.

    I see this as a lesson in hubris. We have lots of evidence that Bush wanted this war so he could have a chance at greatness. Hindsight is 20-20, but in this case, we have on record many people who voices should have been heard warning about the likely consequences.

    What happened now has the ring of inevitability about it. After the cold war, many thought we could muscle the world into the shape we wanted, and into a shape that clearly served our interests. Couple that with a president eager to make his mark — there it is. But it wasn’t inevitable. The Wolfowitz/Cheney gang found a willing ear; that wasn’t inevitable.

    All we can do now is try to clean up the mess. I hope we can find ways to help the Kurds that don’t backfire.

    Posted by: Trent at December 15, 2006 1:19 PM
    Comment #199414

    Trent

    History will judge this war in various ways we probably cannot anticipate.

    My problem with the Dems is their protestations of innocence and ignorance. They knew what they were doing. They are experienced people with considerable power, not a bunch of little guys who know no better.

    The most charitable explanation is that they just have such flexible backbones that they betrayed their morals for politics.

    Bush - BTW - seems to WANT the whole blame. The problem is that we cannot let him have it. IF a president who has been in office for only 1 1/2 years can so completely fool experienced Senators whose party controls the Senate, democracy is worthless. Why bother even complaining.

    Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2006 1:27 PM
    Comment #199423

    I supported this war. What is so frustrating is the complete incompetence of the civilian leadership from the decider on down in prosecuting it. Had bush involved the state department, the energy department and the treasury in any sort of follow-up plan in administering the post-war we would not be having this discussion. Had bush any capacity to organize or persuade we would have enjoyed far more support in the international community. Smith said it and then backed away. What has happened is CRIMINAL! Nothing less! As for bush wanting all the responsibility, what a bunch of B.S. He is a man who has premised his life on avoiding responsibility, especially in HIS conduct during this disaster. First he blames faulty intelligence (some one else’s not his own), then he shifts the blame to the military saying in effect “well, the generals tell me what they want and i give it to them” (saying, in effect, if there’s a problem go see them)
    The gist of your argument seems to be that the dems are just as stupid as we republicans. weak, very weak.
    I remember the point early in the war’s aftermath when we were really screwed. A soldier was on the grounds of a baghdad university, standing at a booth with an ice cream cone in his hand. Someone walked up behind him, shot him in the head and walked away. All this in front of several hundred passive students.
    As for bush: investigate, impeach, try and imprison ASAP!!!!!

    Posted by: charles Ross at December 15, 2006 3:01 PM
    Comment #199441

    Jack, that is a blatant lie, and I suspect you know it, because I have pointed it out to you previously.

    The Dem’s knew only what the Admin. told them, same as the public. The few Dem’s on the Intelligence Committees were under prior restraint NOT to reveal classified information, which means even if they had access to the WMD mythology facts, the Yellow Cake reports, the myths of al-Queda - Hussein cooperation, they were prevented from sharing that information with the rest of their party’s representatives.

    So, NO, Jack, the Dem’s did not know what the Administration knew. And your defense of Republicans is a pure fabrication. The White House had access to far more information and intelligence than Democrats were permitted to share or have. This war belongs to the Bush Administration. The Dem’s went along trusting the President’s predicates for invading Iraq just as the majority of the American people did.

    Now, everyone is the wiser. Save those few who would actually listen and buy into the bogus argument you make that everyone was guilty, foolish, or stupid.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 15, 2006 5:38 PM
    Comment #199449

    David

    The yellow cake intel was supplied by the Brits, who stood by it. Besides, the exact elements of the intelligence are not what I am talking about.

    If you have been working on a subject for ten years or more, you get a feel for it. It just strains credibility that a senator with decades of experience could be so easily misled.

    I work at a job where many people tell me lots of things. I have developed back channels to test the veracity of comments. As President Reagan said, you have to trust but verify. I have learned to estimate the value of opinions. Sometime I know that even when a person is telling you what he thinks is the truth, it is not accurate. I am just a humble little guy with limited resources If I can do that, I expect no less from a Senator. If a Senator who sits on the Intelligence Committee for many years has not developed some contacts and back channel ability to check, he is truly an idiot who either cannot or will not do his job.

    So I have no sympathy for any senator who claims to be misled. He has the resources to find out. In fact, it is his duty to trust but verify. He is either lying about it, or such an idiot that he doesn’t deserve to work for us.

    Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2006 6:36 PM
    Comment #199454

    Jack,

    As I said before, I am not happy with the fact that many Democrats in the House and Senate went along with the Administration’s rush to war. While I do believe the Admininstration mislead the public and Congress, to the extent it was able, I also think that you have a good point that we expect our congress to discharge their duties to the best of their ability. So, yes, I agree with you on that. Although most House Democrats (including Pelosi) voted against the authorization resolution, many in fact did vote for it. In the Senate, 28 Democrats voted for, and 20 against. (One Republican, Chafee, also voted against.)

    Are many Democrats complicit? Hell yes. Do they degree they were mislead, they were naive or too trusting. Do they degree they voted to give the President a big stick but thought we would be judicious in its use, they were naive, or, if you wish, stupid. Do the degree they voted after truly careful consideration with their conscience, they voted honorably, if, in my opinion, foolishly.

    Russ Feingold, of course, voted against, and made a truly impressive speech in OCtober 2002 explaining why. Here’s the link, but because I know that many won’t click on it, here are some excerpts:

    Many of us have spent months reviewing the issue of the advisability of invading Iraq in the near future. From hearings and meetings on the process and the very important role of Congress to the difficult questions of substance, including foreign policy and military implications, after my own review and carefully listening to hundreds of Wisconsin citizens in person, I spoke on the floor on Thursday, September 26, and, Mr. President, I indicated my opposition to the original draft use of force authorization by the President, and I also used that opportunity to raise some very important questions, to which I needed answers before supporting a narrower and more responsible resolution.

    Now, after many more meetings and reading articles and attending briefings, listening to my colleagues’ speeches, and especially listening to the President’s speech in Cincinnati on Monday, Mr. President, I still don’t believe that the President and the Administration have adequately answered the critical questions. They have not yet met the important burden to persuade Congress and the American people that we should invade Iraq at this time.

    Both in terms of the justifications for an invasion and in terms of the mission and the plan for the invasion, Mr. President, the Administration’s arguments just don’t add up. They don’t add up to a coherent basis for a new major war in the middle of our current challenging fight against the terrorism of al Qaeda and related organizations. Therefore, I cannot support the resolution for the use of force before us.

    —-

    My colleagues, my focus today is on the wisdom of this specific resolution vis-a-vis Iraq, as opposed to discussing the notion of an expanded doctrine of preemption, which the President has articulated on several occasions. However, I associate myself with the concerns eloquently raised by Senator Kennedy and Senator Byrd and others that this could well represent a disturbing change in our overall foreign and military policy. This includes grave concerns about what such a preemption-plus policy will do to our relationship with our allies, to our national security, and to the cause of world peace in so many regions of the world, where such a doctrine could trigger very dangerous actions with really very minimal justification.

    —-

    But, Mr. President, I am increasingly troubled by the seemingly shifting justifications for an invasion at this time. My colleagues, I’m not suggesting there has to be only one justification for such a dramatic action. But when the Administration moves back and forth from one argument to another, I think it undercuts the credibility of the case and the belief in its urgency. I believe that this practice of shifting justifications has much to do with the troubling phenomenon of many Americans questioning the Administration’s motives in insisting on action at this particular time.

    —-

    […] if this is premised on some case that has supposedly been made with regard to a subsequent coalition between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government, I think the President has got to do better. He’s got to do better than the shoddy piecing together of flimsy evidence that contradicts the very briefings we’ve received by various agencies, Mr. President.

    I’m not hearing the same things at the briefings that I’m hearing from the President’s top officials. In fact, on March 11 of this year, Vice President Cheney, following a meeting with Tony Blair, raised fears of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists. He said, “We have to be concerned about the potential” — potential — “marriage, if you will, between a terrorist organization like al Qaeda and those who hold or are proliferating knowledge about weapons of mass destruction.” So in March, it was a potential marriage.

    Then the Vice-President said, on September 8, without evidence — and no evidence has been given since that time — that there are “credible but unconfirmed” intelligence reports that 9-11 ringleader Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence official several months before 9-11. We’ve seen no proof of that.

    And finally then, the Secretary of Defense follows on September 27 of this year and says, “There is bulletproof evidence of Iraqi links to al Qaeda, including the recent presence of senior al Qaeda members in Baghdad.” I don’t know where this comes from, Mr. President. This so-called potential marriage in March is beginning to sound like a 25th wedding anniversary at this point.

    The facts just aren’t there, or at least they have not been presented to me in the situations where they should have been presented to me as an elected Member of this body. In other words, the Administration appears to use 9-11 and the language of terrorism and the connection to Iraq too loosely, almost like a bootstrap.

    For example, I heard the President say in Cincinnati that Iraq and al Qaeda both regard us as a common enemy. Of course they do. Well, who else are we going to attack in the near future on that basis alone?

    —-

    Mr. President, we need an honest assessment of the commitment required of America. If the right way to address this threat is through internationally-supported military action in Iraq and Saddam Hussein’s regime falls, we will need to take action to ensure stability in Iraq. This could be very costly and time consuming, could involve the occupation — the occupation, Mr. President, of a Middle Eastern country. Now, this is not a small matter. The American occupation of a Middle Eastern country. Consider the regional implications of that scenario, the unrest in moderate states that calls for action against American interests, the difficulty of bringing stability to Iraq so we can extricate ourselves in the midst of regional turmoil. Mr. President, we need much more information about how we propose to proceed so that we can weigh the costs and benefits to our national security.

    I do believe that the American people are willing to bear high costs to pursue a policy that makes sense. But right now, after all of the briefings, all of the hearings, and all of the statements, as far as I can tell, the Administration apparently intends to wing it when it comes to the day after or, as others have suggested, the decade after. And I think, Mr. President, that makes no sense at all.

    So, Mr. President, I believe that to date the Administration has failed to answer the key questions to justify the invasion of Iraq at this time. Yes, September 11 raises the emotional stakes and raises legitimate new questions. This makes the President’s request understandable, but it doesn’t make it wise.

    —-

    I am concerned that the President is pushing us into a mistaken and counterproductive course of action. Instead of this war being crucial on the war on terrorism, I fear it could have the opposite effect.

    And so this moment — in which we are responsible for assessing the threat before us, the appropriate response, and the potential costs and consequences of military action — this moment is of grave importance. Yet there is something hollow in our efforts. In all of the Administration’s public statements, its presentations to Congress, and its exhortations for action, Congress is urged to provide this authority and approve the use of our awesome military power in Iraq without knowing much at all about what we intend to do with it.

    Feingold expressed very well the concerns many of us had. If I sound like I believed all this was very obvious at the time, it’s because at the time I did think it was obvious. And in anticipation of your repeating some remarks I’ve read, no, I can’t prove it.

    Posted by: Trent at December 15, 2006 7:36 PM
    Comment #199455

    Many will try to rewrite the history of the Iraq invasion, no doubt, just as Iran wants to rewrite the history of the plight of Jews and others at the hands of Hitler.

    But the facts are on the table for the most part, and the facts are that the White House cherry picked for propaganda to present to Congress and the people to engage their support for a war which the people would otherwise have proclaimed was a failure to pursue those responsible for 9/11. In the end, the truth was revealed despite this administration’s unparalleled attempts at secrecy and to clamp down on whistle blowers.

    The whistle blowers are controversial. They are heroes to the people when the information is judged to be important to the people: Villians, if the information is judged to be politically motivated or injurious to the people.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 15, 2006 7:41 PM
    Comment #199468

    The Iraq invasion was mostly bipartisan. The policy of regime change was in place since Clinton signed off in 1998. You can look at the videos of speeches promient Dems gave supporting the war.

    The rewrite of history involves pretending that those remarks and that enthusiasm was the result of Bush manipulation. I say again, if a long time veteran of the intelligence commmittee like John Kerry and the very involved wife of the former president can be misled so easily, they certainly are not qualified for higher office.

    The intelligence believed by most people turned out not to be correct. Saddam, however, was a threat. I know that some people say they want him back, but they are being silly.

    We can agree that in light of subsequent events the Iraq policy turned out to be wrong. We must also agree that most people in the know believed Saddam had or could rapidly have WMD. They also knew (and they were right) that Saddam was maintaining the capacity to create WMD and that when sanctions were lifted (and sanctions would have been lifted in 2003) he would have been back to his old ways.

    Leading Dems are feeling guilty about their support for the war and they are playing politics. This is what makes them insist that it was not a mistake, but a nefarious plan that made them do as they did.

    This is what I believe is the simple truth. 9/11 made everyone a bit hysterical. We realized that our earlier complacency had been misplaced and over reacted. Saddam was a known danger. Since we were more sensitive to danger, we reacted too strongly. We also suffered from hubris, since it had been so easy to knock off the Taliban. This affected Bush more because he wsa president, responsible for defending the U.S. and hoping to solve the terror problem. But Dems were also affected, as were most Americans.

    It is as if a burglar breaks into your house and threatens your family. You kick him out and then look at the guy next door who threatens to same thing as more of a real threat. You decide to take care of that SOB once and for all. When the passion lifts, you see some of the things you did were ill advised.

    The Dems now want to pretend that they were just not involved. But they were.

    The decisions made at the time made sense at the time.

    Watch a war movie made in 1943 or 1944. Does that mind set make sense to you? It made sense to them and maybe it made sense in general.

    We now look at Iraq through the prism of today’s events. Those events are no more “real” than those of 2002 and our judgments may be no more valid. four years from today, I am certain we will retreat a quick retreat (if we make one) just as the WWII generation regretted appeasement.

    Decisions made in hasty passion are regretted at leisure. This counts for decisions made in 2002 and now. Dems may once again need to deny what they say.


    Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2006 8:59 PM
    Comment #199470

    Jack,

    You were really asking for it picking on Reyes. I won’t add to the pile on. Just remember what they say about people who live in glass houses.

    When people talk about Pelosi and Harman, they leave out the fact that Harman’s term limit was up. They also leave out the fact that she is being investigated for improper relations with AIPAC. But no, it has to be about Pelosi being a witch…

    Interesting comment from Robert Novak

    Senior CIA officials consider Harman a prima donna and say they dread the thought of dealing with her as chairman. They would much prefer Hastings, finding him consistently cooperative.

    So the CIA guys preferred the crook to Harman. Interesting, no?

    I think there has been a lot of revisionism about Iraq — on the GOP side. Before the 2004 election, Americans were told that they couldn’t trust the Democrats because they were peaceniks who didn’t have the balls to pull the trigger on Saddam. And they were obstructionists to boot. After the election, the new story was that the Democratic leaders are just as dumb as the Republican leaders because they supported the Iraq War.

    So which is it? Are the Democrats peacenik wimps who obstruct Bush’s foreign policy decisions, or get-along-to-go-along morons who support his dumb ideas? You guys need to choose a story and stick with it.

    Posted by: Woody Mena at December 15, 2006 9:49 PM
    Comment #199472

    Woody

    They are both. The old joke that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged has a lot of truth. Peaceniks can often see all sorts of possibilities for far away conflicts, but are very agressive when they feel personally violated. But they revert back when they figure the danger has passed and then feel guilty for their laspse.

    I supported the Iraq war in 2003. I regret the outcome in light of subsequent events, but I still believe the choice was right based on conditions and information available at the time. In all great humility, most people cannot handle that sort of complexity. They cannot understand that a decision can be right and wrong at the same time and that we do not have to assign blame for every mistake.

    It is very possible to be wrong for the right reasons and right for the wrong reasons. More often, we have a mix. Real life tends to be messier than the stories we tell. We are compelled to create patterns where none may exist.

    Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2006 10:11 PM
    Comment #199474

    Jack,

    What percentage of Congress is made up of “peaceniks”, in your mind?

    I ask this because you imply that even peaceniks supported the Iraq War. Actually, 23 Senators and 133 House members voted against it. This comes out to about %30 of Congress.(Needless to say, almost all of these individuals were Democrats.)

    So if there were peaceniks who supported the Iraq War, there must be a lot more peaceniks in Congress than I would imagine. Place must be crawlin’ with em…

    Posted by: Woody Mena at December 15, 2006 10:25 PM
    Comment #199475

    Woody

    It is always easier to be for not taking a hard action. If you can claim to be for peace, so much the better.

    Somebody like John Kerry is a peacenik. He supported the war only because he thought it was politically expedient. I assume he is sincere in his beliefs, just not very firm in his conviction. Hillary Clinton is not a peacenik. She supported the war because she thought it was right. She is willing to kick ass if need be. That is why I do not dislike the Clintons (Bill or Hillary) as much as many of my red side colleagues. It is also why I probably dislike Kerry even more.

    Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2006 10:59 PM
    Comment #199477

    It is hilarious that so many hardcore libs still believe that members of Congress who have detailed information of nearly every action of government have no knowledge of anything. Congress has access to just about everything the President does. Their security clearances give them access to almost unlimited information, and Congressional requests are surely not taken lightly when committees want more information on particular subjects of interest, whether they be requested of the White House, of the Pentagon, or of the FBI and CIA. It has been accusingly said that the “lifers” in the State Dept. have been leaking information to the Press on a regular basis behind Bush’s back. If the Press gets info from the so-called whistleblowers, how in the world would anyone think it feasible that members of Congress do not. Secrets never remain secrets in Washington for long, period. My Gosh, what could be more private than Monica under Bill’s desk, but somebody still found out about that! It is ludicrous for members of Congress to claim they are “in the dark” on anything. This is just amazing!! What will the libs start saying next; “Bush is trying to dumb-down Washington, D.C.?” How can you make the so-called smartest, most perceptive, and well-connected intellectuals in the world, talking about the liberal Democrats of course, that stupid in only six years?

    JD

    Posted by: JD at December 15, 2006 11:28 PM
    Comment #199481
    It is always easier to be for not taking a hard action. If you can claim to be for peace, so much the better.

    No, Jack. It’s easier to sail with the political wind. In the Senate, only one Republican voted against authorization. By far the easier vote was to appear to be tough on terrorism. It took political courage to oppose the war in light of, as you said earlier, the hysteria in the country.

    JD,

    I’m sure all those committee chairmen frustrated over Whitehouse intransigence over their requests for information on a wide variety of topics will be reassured that they can always rely on the grapevine. You seem to be suggesting that rumor is good enough to make important decisions, or is good enough to satisfy investigators.

    Actually, your confidence in rumor does explain a lot. …

    Posted by: Trent at December 16, 2006 12:45 AM
    Comment #199483

    To further clarify, I specifically remember certain Democratic members of Congress visiting Iraq and other regions prior to the War on Terror. Not only do they have access to our intelligence, they can fly at tax payer’s expense anywhere in the world to see things first-hand! And judging from the recent expeditions of Nelson and Kerry they sure don’t need the President’s approval for doing so. Did their flights to Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc., teach them anything or was it just a step off the airport runway, a convenient liberal Press photo-op with a world leader, and a quick, all-expenses-paid trip back home?

    JD

    Posted by: JD at December 16, 2006 12:57 AM
    Comment #199487

    JD, you are dead wrong. Intelligence data is NOT obtained by taking a tour or walkabout of a foreign nation. And no, Democrats and Most Republicans in the Congress did NOT have access to secret intelligence data gathered by the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. The handful of Congressional intelligence committee members who did have some access, were under threat of prosecution and prior restraint from ever divulging that information to the other members of Congress or the public or anyone else for that matter. That’s the law.

    So, your education on the workings of our Congress is in need of a refresher course.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2006 5:23 AM
    Comment #199488

    Jack, some of our greatest advocates of peace have historically been our military generals, from Ulysses Grant to Dwight D. Eisenhauer. I take from that historical fact, that they know something of war which most of the rest of us do not. And we should rely on their experience as a guide.

    Those who would use military as pawns in a game of international strategy and tactics, have no experience with war on the ground, and no respect for the wisdom of those who do and did.

    Our sage historical advisors have repeatedly uttered pretty much the same message, war should be reserved as a last resort, and then only in defense of attack or, imminent attack. For war is the most costly of all political acts to the nation, her people, and potentially the relationship between a nation’s government and her people. The time before awareness of imminent attack is the time for diplomacy, politics, tactical and strategic alliances, etc. and all these toward the end of averting war wholeheartedly.

    Bush & company came into office seeking war. Bush & company have injured our nation for decades to come, unnecessarily, and quite ignorantly or worse, in contempt for their own knowledge and experience as in the case of Donald Rumsfeld who found himself and his boss seeking the direct opposite of much of what he had learned and even spoken publicly about, in the past.

    The opportunity costs of invading Iraq as opposed to containing the Saddam Hussein regime are truly staggering.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2006 5:38 AM
    Comment #199492

    On a related matter:

    Here’s a story on Gitmo prisoners released to other countries for “continued detention.” Some were held in Gitmo for years. Their fate in other countries is not news, though it will be news to some. And, yes, I know a few will draw perverse conclusions.

    Posted by: Trent at December 16, 2006 9:18 AM
    Comment #199494

    Jack,

    So you came up with one guy, and that’s pretty questionable. If Kerry voted for war out of political expediency, he is a pretty lousy excuse for a peacenik. (You can’t be an far-left ideologue and a political whore at the same time.) Also, unlike Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, etc., he has actually shot at people.

    Actually, I take that back about Cheney. I will be sure not to slander him in that way again. ;)

    Posted by: Woody Mena at December 16, 2006 9:36 AM
    Comment #199497

    My point was that the trips to Iraq and the region by Dems yielded nothing but very expensive tax paid photo ops. Thanks for making my point!
    However, as Jack states, these Dems were not just elected two years ago. Most have been in Congress pushing thirty years, and they don’t know squat about the rest of the world; even those countries and leaders whom Clinton gave full-blown speeches about calling for regime change and warning about the threat of their WMDs falling into the hands of terrorists. I suggest, for about the fifth time on this blog, that you go back and read Clinton’s State of the Union speeches. If you guys want to continue the farce that they knew nothing and have not known anything for the last thirty years in office, I have to ask why in the world you keep voting for them? I think that is called the blind leading the blind.

    Posted by: JD at December 16, 2006 10:57 AM
    Comment #199498

    I really cannot understand how anyone can defend Dems who supported the Iraq war in 2002 and still criticize Bush for being stupid or craven. They come as a package.

    Assume super smart Bush set out to fool super gullible Dem senators. He had only a couple years of intelligence to use. He was building on 12 years of intelligence. This is what the Dems had been reading for ten years before that. The reason what Bush told them made sense to the Dems is because what Bush told them made sense based on prior knowledge and experience.

    Liberals have a kind of messianic streak. They have to feel pure & clean. I, however, have never met a situation I cannot muddy up. I can admit that something turned out wrong w/o contending that everything that went into the decision was wrong and trying to purify my side by claiming we were beguiled by occult forces.

    David

    Containing Saddam was disappearing as an option.

    You and I now know that Saddam did not have WMD. We assume that inspectors would have been able to prove that sometime in 2003. Okay, so far we are just reading from the anti-Bush script. But now take the next step. If Saddam did not have WMD and he could prove to the UN that he did not have WMD, sanctions come off. The U.S. no longer has any basis to patrol the no fly zones. The U.S. no longer has any basis to interfere at all in Iraqi internal policies. We are back in the war position in 2004 and we are worse off.

    The option you are advocating was unavailable in 2003. You are like someone asking whether a person would prefer to work at a dirty job or get a $ 5 million gift.

    Let me stipulate that a controlled Saddam selling his oil at below market rates is better than war. If we had such an option, I would have supported it. I am also in favor of good health, general prosperity, economic growth and a clean environment.

    Trent

    In many cases the situation makes the danger. Most members of the Nazi SS were “released” into the general population after the war where they caused no further problems. That does not mean you would want to let them go in New York in 1944. The people you are talking about are also by definition those we let out. The fact that many appear no longer to be a thread says nothing about what they were before.

    Woody

    Kerry went to war and was a legitimate war hero. He came back and compared his comrades to Genghis Khan, admitted to war crimes himself and since then has behaved as a peacenik and political opportunist.

    Posted by: Jack at December 16, 2006 10:58 AM
    Comment #199500

    JAck, as you know, many were never a threat. Some were fingered by neighbors wanting a cheap buck, some were in the wrong place at the wrong time, etc. Comparing them to Nazi SS — good grief, Jack. Some prisoners no doubt are terrorists or dangerous members of the Taliban, but considering most had no real chance to make their case for years, who knows? Some were held for years before release, and the fact that the countries (including our good friends, Jack, summarily set them free speaks volumes about the evidence against them. Meanwhile, the public is led to believe that they all are dangerous terrorists. I’ll spare you the supporting quotes. It’s just another case of administration rhetoric that had little basis in reality.

    Posted by: Trent at December 16, 2006 11:23 AM
    Comment #199501

    Jack,

    You can question his moral character and leadership qualities, but Kerry is simply not a peacenik. Period. Full stop.

    Not only did he vote for the Iraq War, he voted to go to war in Kosovo 1999. He opposed the Vietnam War only after it had obviously became a disaster. Granted, he did voted against the first Gulf War. You might call that his peacenik moment.

    He also voted for missile defense, and when he ran for President he wanted to increase the military by 40,000 people.

    I guess it shows what a pro-war bias we have in this country, that someone with that record would be considered a peacenik.

    Posted by: Woody Mena at December 16, 2006 11:27 AM
    Comment #199502

    Jack,
    I believe that the atmosphere in this Country, prior to the invasion of Iraq was such that most of the Dems felt obligated to say yes to the administrations desire to go to war. Im not saying it was right but there was tremendous pressure generated by the Administration.
    I also believe that the Administration used the 9/11 attack as an excuse to go to war in Iraq. They had already put their pre-emptive strike policy into effect.
    So yes it is both the Dems and the Repubs “fault” so to speak, but its not a fifty fifty deal. The repubs were lockstepped behind the Administration, and had the momentum going for them. The Dems had the vicious name calling, the 9/11 attack and the general mood of the American people, who wanted revenge, going against them. The brave few like Kucinich had little say, though they were the wiser voice.
    I also wonder if things had turned out different and we had not invaded Iraq would the 06 elections had been the same, so for the Dems it appears that they had to give enough rope to the repubs to allow the repubs to hang themselves. Which of course they did.
    I also believe that the Administrations real goals for invading Iraq are close to fruition. The financial bind this war is putting the next 2 generations in, the securing of the Iraq oil fields for the American corporations and the divisiveness of the people regarding the debacle in Iraq will surely help to put the federal government into the bathtub to allow the choking to begin.

    Posted by: j2t2 at December 16, 2006 11:34 AM
    Comment #199504

    Trent

    Out of the many millions of people in Afghanistan, we brought several hundred to Guantanamo at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars per person. I don’t doubt that it is possible that some were really innocent, but it is not like there was a mass round up and people just got caught in the drag net.

    You do have to wonder why a person from Germany, UK etc would be among the Taliban in Afghanistan. It was not exactly a tourist location or a place where people would go looking for jobs.

    I think the comparison to the SS is apt. Many of them also got “caught up in events” near the end of the war. And most were not dangerous when taken out of the particular circumstances of the conflict, but it would have been a good idea to grab them before that.

    Woody

    Okay, not a peacenik. Just an opportunist. You assume the guy is a bigger rat than I do, but I accept your characterization.

    Jtt2

    I do not think the vote was a mistake or a fault given the times and the information known then. I would have voted in favor at the time. I believe the Dems who voted in favor also were convinced that they were doing the right thing. I am much more generous to the Dems than you are. I assume they made a moral decision that subsequent events proved incorrect. You assume they are either craven or stupid.

    Maybe I am the better democrat.

    Posted by: Jackj at December 16, 2006 12:41 PM
    Comment #199506

    Trent

    Some of the former prisioners have gone back into terrorism.

    This is not something that can be won in the PR field. It is always unpleasant to have or be a prisoner and many people sympathize with the confined no matter what. Think of all those serial killers who get proposals every day.

    I figure that we took so few prisioners to Guantanamo that it is unlikely many are innocent. I also understand that we have gotten some good information from the prisoners. I do not think you can treat terrorism like an ordinary crime. We cannot even properly try organized crime figures. I am not willing to wait around to try people after they have managed to kill thousands of Americans.

    I will respect what the courts decide on this case.

    As I wrote only half joking, we would have been better off following the Geneva Conventions and shooting these guys as spies & terrorists when we first found them hiding among civilian populations. But we did find out some useful things.

    Posted by: Jack at December 16, 2006 1:30 PM
    Comment #199509

    Yes, let the courts decide. They’ve already slammed this administration on its Gitmo policies; I expect more slamming to come. Not all conservatives are against the rule of law.

    In four years, only 10 of the 450 or so prisoners have been formally charged. You know, I expect, that the Army wanted to screen these prisoners in Afghanistan (in accordance with the Geneva Convention), but that the White House canceled it. And … oh hell, why continue? There’s much more. Most of the prisoners are there by guilt of association. Top military officials say more than half (one says 75 percent) of the prisoners don’t belong there. Most have zero intelligence value. All public record, Jack. We should have done what the military lawyers wanted done — treat these prisoners as specified in the Geneva Convention.

    And your justification? You can’t understand why a Westerner would be there. That ain’t good enough, Jack.

    Posted by: Trent at December 16, 2006 2:14 PM
    Comment #199542

    both sides of this post are correct. Noone on either side knows shiite from shinola. They have only one goal in life and that seems to be raise taxes and restrict our lives under their micorscope.

    I think it is a perfect time for us all to get together and demand new management in all areas. Let us start over and let them know we are not divided but united in our war to save ourselves.

    But you got to admit pelosi is one ugly stupid clueless piece of work as is a lot of RINOS out there. Frist, and that ugly duck who pelosi took out. Bush on immigration and border security…..

    what a bunch of jackasses.

    Posted by: im at December 16, 2006 6:22 PM
    Comment #199561
    You assume the guy is a bigger rat than I do, but I accept your characterization.

    I don’t know where you get that. Kerry is a guy who takes moderate foreign-policy stances. Maybe he is opportunistic or maybe he is a genuine moderate at heart.

    It is impossible to read someone’s mind. For all we know, John McCain is a pacifist who justs votes for wars so he can be president some day. You can’t disprove that theory.

    Posted by: Woody Mena at December 16, 2006 11:25 PM
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