Sunday, February 08, 2004

Hans Blix accused Tony Blair and George Bush of behaving like insincere salesmen who "exaggerated" intelligence in an attempt to win support for war
Referring to the government's controversial dossier - with its suggestion that WMDs could be deployed within 45 minutes - [Hans Blix] insisted: "The intention was to dramatise it, just as the vendors of some merchandise are trying to exaggerate the importance of what they have....But from politicians or our leaders in the western word, I think we expect more than that. A bit more sincerity........"They say some WMDs can be ready to be used within 45 minutes. Well, which ones? It certainly wasn't nuclear because the report says that they were not developing nuclear, so they didn't have them. And what is meant by being ready? Is it a phial of anthrax that can be tossed at somebody? I mean one can interpret it in different ways."

Asked about claims in the Observer that Britain had spied on UN allies in the run-up to Iraq, he said: "I wouldn't be at all surprised if that was the case ... I assumed when I was in New York that I might well have been bugged in my office."

Charlotte Observer-"Bush tries to limit scope on intelligence inquiry"
"This is the most ill-prepared snow job I've seen in a long time. Does he (Bush) really think anybody is really going to fall for this? The commissioners he has named know absolutely nothing about the subject matter."

--Ivo Daalder, Brookings Institution fellow


Here is the New York Times editorial on the same topic.
The new rationale for war--"intent" and "the very minimum"

The "new minimum" is a woeful lowering of the bar....and would be laughable if we weren't losing our troops in a war of choice...political, poor choice.
It's getting worse by the moment.
Dana Milbank quotes Bush:
"He's a dangerous man. He had the ability to make weapons at the very minimum." (Meet the Press Feb 8)

....and VP Dick Cheney:

"We know that Saddam Hussein had the intent to arm his regime with weapons of mass destruction."
(in his message this week to a group of Republican donors in Chicago).

Mr Bush suggested he would not testify before the commission he named last week to investigate the Iraq intelligence.
Even though the president is not on trial, doesn't this seem reminiscent of past defendants we've seen invoking their 5th amendment privelege?

At Informed Comment, Professor Cole has astute commentary about the Cheney comments. LINK HERE.
I am so naive that I still read items like this with my jaw on my keyboard:

AP reported that US Vice President Dick 'Cheney, the keynote speaker at the Republicans' annual Lincoln Days, said the evidence indicates that Saddam Hussein had the intent to use weapons of mass destruction, even though inspectors have not found any massive stockpiles....

Saddam did not have the capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, because he did not have active laboratories doing so. He had no "capacity" whatsoever to produce nukes. His country may have had a capacity to produce some chemical weapons, but then so could a twelve year old little boy in Iowa with a bottle of chlorine and a lab set. The point is that they did not have any active production facilities at the time the war was launched. As for "intent," well, Saddam's WMD was destroyed under UN pressure by the mid-1990s, and he never reconstituted the programs or the facilities, so his "intent" was not exactly urgent or being implemented on a relevant timescale. Besides, in military strategy you do not worry about vague abstracts such as the over-all "intent" of your enemy. You worry about his actual, existing, concrete capabilities.
--Professor Juan Cole
How well will the GOP be able to market their new rationale? Will the public accept it?

Slate/Timothy Noah
Get your Bush documents here

Ron Suskind posts the evidence online. It's a trove of 19,000 documents that former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill gave him. It's all going to be here.
From Buzzflash:
BushFlash Predicted Bush/Cheney Appointing A Key Member of Extremist Republican Shadow Govt to Investigate the Lying, Inept GOP Exec Branch:
Laurence Silberman, Co-Chair, Like Scalia and David Sentelle is Part of the Federal Bench GOP Fifth Column Govt.

Dean supporters: Please sign this letter to the DNC's Terry McAuliffe
It may be well past the time to tell him how we feel...but he should know.

"I look forward to that debate when John Kerry, a war hero with a chest full of medals, is standing next to George Bush, a man who was AWOL in the Alabama National Guard. He didn't show up when he should have showed up."
--Terry McAuliffe (last week)

*This is one of the many reasons I am contemplating leaving the Democratic party.
It's all about the diminishment of the idea of "small-d" democracy. I'd though it was a hallmark of the Democratic party.
Was I wrong?
NY Times/Thomas Friedman
Thomas Friedman paints a rosy picture of our reason for being in Iraq
It almost seems that he'd like us to forget what brought us there
Hypocritically, he blames the Super Bowl halftime show for erasing memories
Who's doing the erasing?
All I have to do is see what happened to the Kurds the other day ? this proud mountain people who have built a nice little democracy and free market in northern Iraq, only to have it suicide-bombed by Islamists - to be reminded that this is a just war. It is a war of the forces of tolerance, pluralism and decency against the forces of intolerance, bigotry and religious fascism.
And this had what to do with an imminent threat from Saddam Hussein to America?
Hello, Mr. Friedman?
I don't argue Mr. Friedman's point regarding the focus the Bush administration seems to be determined to take OFF of our fighting men and women. They deserve our undying respect and unending thanks for all they do in the service of our nation. I recall my mouth dropping in disbelief when the President failed to pay them homage in his State of the Union speech. Unbelieveable.
It seems, however, that Mr. Friedman is settled with the fact that Americans were all misled..not by available intelligence..but by Bush and his administration's telling us what they wanted us to hear about the known available intelligence.*I'm glad HE is...I'm certainly not..and I know many Americans agree with me on this.)
(Here's a related op-ed in today's NY Times).
I'd ask Mr. Friedman if it skipped his mind that Saddam was the alleged threat and reason for the preventive attack on Iraq....not Islamic terrorists. There was no 9-11 connection to Saddam. In his sentimental, democracy-loving way, Mr Friedman seems to want to get us to forget about all the lies we've been fed by our leadership. Mr Friedman, rather unpatriotically, seems to have abandoned his caring about the integrity of American democracy and thrown his support to this "war of big ideas" which has nothing to do with Hussein or our alleged reasons for having gone to war. Hussein was just the sideshow in our rush to "bring the terrorists on" into the land of Iraq..a most immoral thought if you meditate upon it for a while.
Imagine this:
Let's say China decided to fight a war of its own "big ideas" and wrap it in a ruse about overthrowing a foreign nation's president who allegedly has WMDs (but doesn't, in reality). What if China "brought it on" to that nation, raining bombs over innocent heads while down below, certain ethnic (weak or unpopular) citizens in that nation's northern region are attacked by their organized fundamentalist enemies (unrelated to China) who were just waiting for the overthrow of the nation's president in order to get their civil war on amidst the chaos? You'd say to yourself...dear God, what a travesty of justice...what a damned mess. Could you imagine our news headlines...what the talking heads would be saying???

To Mr. Friedman, who obviously believes with all his heart that we're doing mankind a service with the promotion of our big ideas, I say: What a travesty of justice...what a damned mess.

I'd say listen to Jimmy Breslin..he can teach you a thing or two about truth, honor, and justice.
Bloomberg is supposed to fight for this city and instead he acts like he is afraid of Bush and these other Republicans. Simultaneously, and worse, he acts like he wants to be one of them. He crowed over bringing the Republican convention to New York. It will put people in hotel rooms, he says. Beautiful! We count money while some young guy from the Bronx gets his head blown off.
What do Bush and his people do for Bloomberg? They tell him they are going to bring him into the parlor. Then they put him outside in a crowded room and have him raise money.
And he not only brings nothing for his city, but he is afraid to complain. George Bush has a program called "Leave No Child Behind" and it stands for all of the Republicans: The program is utterly fraudulent. And of all the mayors of cities in the country complaining about schools being slashed and ruined, only Michael Bloomberg remains silent. How marvelous! He is afraid of insulting his great new friends. And what do these people in Washington and Albany give him? They bring back the great News newspaper headline, "Ford to N.Y.: Drop Dead."
It helped make Jimmy Carter the president. This time, it is George Bush telling us to drop dead, and in this case young people actually die.
on the eve of invading Iraq, Bush made a speech that was a copy of the one made by Adolph Hitler in the hours before his army invaded Poland in September of 1939.
In a State of the Union speech, Bush said that Saddam tried to get uranium from the country of Niger and blow us away with a nuclear bomb. Afterward, the Bush people said the speech was essentially right although it had some wrong. It did. This could be put in three letters: Lie.
After that, from Washington there was one long, whining lie about weapons of mass destruction. If this Saddam had them, he would have used them in the first 20 minutes of the fighting. He had none. A man called Blix from the United Nations inspected Iraqi arms, including trucks found one week apart and empty. Nothing. Colin Powell got up at the UN and, reading whatever it was that Bush and his people gave him, he said the trucks were there on one day to carry away biological weapons before the inspectors arrived and that is why we have to bomb Baghdad.
The news reporters of the nation, the Pekingese of the Press, never questioned a single, solitary sentence of his presentation. All agreed it was a great moment for America. In doing so they stained themselves forever as cowards...

I'd ask Mr. Friedman to ask one of the religious moral leaders of the world, Pope John Paul, what he thought about this preventive war. "...unjust and illegal.."

Mr. Friedman says:
The antiwar left is wrong: however mangled was the Bush road to war, it is a war for the values of our civilization.
I'd ask Mr. Friedman: What kind of idiots do you take the American public for? I'd tell him that he obviously has chosen to rationalize away a travesty of justice and a breaking of faith from the American president to the American people. The "mangling", I'd tell Mr. Friedman, was EVERYTHING. I am not a anti-war left-wing extremist..I consider myself to be quite the rational liberal. I am insulted to see comments such as these from a corporate journalist who is doing his best to make something positive out of a travesty brought on by the worst President in American history. I am not impugning him for being an optimist...but I sense a decided intellectual dishonesty in Mr. Friedman's column today. If we forget what brought us to this point in the sordid history of these past few years, we will never understand what it will take to make our nation a more accountable, trustworthy, dignified nation of intelligent patriots.
I feel dumbed down, thus insulted, by the rosy picture Mr. Friedman attempts to paint while calling rational people like me nothing more than "anti-war". I'm more of the "anti-mangling" type.