Did Bush Lie Us into War?





Mr. Dean served as White House counsel under President Richard Nixon. His latest book is: The Rehnquist Choice: The Untold Story of the Nixon Appointment That Redefined the Supreme Court (2002)

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President George W. Bush has got a very serious problem. Before asking Congress for a Joint Resolution authorizing the use of American military forces in Iraq, he made a number of unequivocal statements about the reason the United States needed to pursue the most radical actions any nation can undertake -- acts of war against another nation.

Now it is clear that many of his statements appear to be false. In the past, Bush's White House has been very good at sweeping ugly issues like this under the carpet and out of sight. But it is not clear that they will be able to make the question of what happened to Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) go away -- unless, perhaps, they start another war.

That seems unlikely. Until the questions surrounding the Iraqi war are answered, Congress and the public may strongly resist more of President Bush's warmaking.

Presidential statements, particularly on matters of national security, are held to an expectation of the highest standard of truthfulness. A president cannot stretch, twist or distort facts and get away with it. President Lyndon Johnson's distortions of the truth about Vietnam forced him to stand down from reelection. President Richard Nixon's false statements about Watergate forced his resignation.

Frankly, I hope the WMD are found, for it will end the matter. Clearly, the story of the missing WMD is far from over. And it is too early, of course, to draw conclusions. But it is not too early to explore the relevant issues.

President Bush's Statements On Iraq's Weapons Of Mass Destruction

Readers may not recall exactly what President Bush said about weapons of mass destruction; I certainly didn't. Thus, I have compiled these statements below. In reviewing them, I saw that he had, indeed, been as explicit and declarative as I had recalled.

Bush's statements, in chronological order, were:

United Nations Address, Sept. 12, 2002:

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."

Radio Address, Oct. 5, 2002:

"Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons."

"We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."

Cincinnati, Ohio Speech, Oct. 7, 2002:

"The Iraqi regime... possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons."

"We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas."

"We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States."

"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his"nuclear mujahideen" -- his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons."

State of the Union Address, Jan. 28, 2003:

"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."

Address to the Nation, March 17, 2003:

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

Should The President Get The Benefit Of The Doubt?

When these statements were made, Bush's let-me-mince-no-words posture was convincing to many Americans. Yet much of the rest of the world, and many other Americans, doubted them.

As Bush's veracity was being debated at the United Nations, it was also being debated on campuses -- including those where I happened to be lecturing at the time.

On several occasions, students asked me the following question: Should they believe the president of the United States? My answer was that they should give the president the benefit of the doubt, for several reasons deriving from the usual procedures that have operated in every modern White House and that, I assumed, had to be operating in the Bush White House, too.

First, I assured the students that these statements had all been carefully considered and crafted. presidential statements are the result of a process, not a moment's thought. White House speechwriters process raw information, and their statements are passed on to senior aides who have both substantive knowledge and political insights. And this all occurs before the statement ever reaches the president for his own review and possible revision.

Second, I explained that -- at least in every White House and administration with which I was familiar, from Truman to Clinton -- statements with national security implications were the most carefully considered of all. The White House is aware that, in making these statements, the President is speaking not only to the nation, but also to the world.

Third, I pointed out to the students, these statements are typically corrected rapidly if they are later found to be false. And in this case, far from backpedaling from the president's more extreme claims, Bush's press secretary, Ari Fleischer had actually, at times, been even more emphatic than the president had. For example, on Jan. 9, 2003, Fleischer stated, during his press briefing,"We know for a fact that there are weapons there."

In addition, others in the administration were similarly quick to back the president up, in some cases with even more unequivocal statements. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly claimed that Saddam had WMD -- and even went so far as to claim he knew"where they are; they're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad."

Finally, I explained to the students that the political risk was so great that, to me, it was inconceivable that Bush would make these statements if he didn't have solid intelligence to back him up. Presidents do not stick their necks out only to have them chopped off by political opponents on an issue as important as this, and if there were any doubt, I suggested, Bush's political advisers would be telling him to hedge. Rather than stating a matter as fact, he would say:"I have been advised," or"our intelligence reports strongly suggest," or some such similar hedge. But Bush had not done so.

So what are we now to conclude if Bush's statements are found, indeed, to be as grossly inaccurate as they currently appear to have been?

After all, no WMD have been found, and given Bush's statements, they should not have been very hard to find -- for they existed in large quantities,"thousands of tons" of chemical weapons alone. Moreover, according to the statements, telltale facilities, groups of scientists who could testify and production equipment also existed.

So where is all that? And how can we reconcile the White House's unequivocal statements with the fact that they may not exist?

There are two main possibilities. One, that something is seriously wrong within the Bush White House's national security operations. That seems difficult to believe. The other is that the President has deliberately misled the nation, and the world.

A Desperate Search For WMD Has So Far Yielded Little, If Any, Fruit

Even before formally declaring war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the president had dispatched American military special forces into Iraq to search for WMD, which he knew would provide the primary justification for Operation Freedom. None were found.

Throughout Operation Freedom's penetration of Iraq and drive toward Baghdad, the search for WMD continued. None were found.

As the coalition forces gained control of Iraqi cities and countryside, special search teams were dispatched to look for WMD. None were found.

During the past two-and-a-half months, according to reliable news reports, military patrols have visited over 300 suspected WMD sites throughout Iraq. None of the prohibited weapons were found there.

British And American Press Reaction To The Missing WMD

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is also under serious attack in England, which he dragged into the war unwillingly, based on the missing WMD. In Britain, the missing WMD are being treated as scandalous; so far, the reaction in the United States has been milder.

The New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, has taken Bush sharply to task, asserting that it is"long past time for this administration to be held accountable.""The public was told that Saddam posed an imminent threat," Krugman argued."If that claim was fraudulent," he continued,"the selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history -- worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-Contra." But most media outlets have reserved judgment as the search for WMD in Iraq continues.

Still, signs do not look good. Last week, the Pentagon announced it was shifting its search from looking for WMD sites to looking for people who can provide leads as to where the missing WMD might be.

Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, while offering no new evidence, assured Congress that WMD will indeed be found. And he advised that a new unit called the Iraq Survey Group, composed of some 1,400 experts and technicians from around the world, is being deployed to assist in the searching.

But, as Time magazine reported, the leads are running out. According to Time, the Marine general in charge explained that"[w]e've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad," and remarked flatly,"They're simply not there."

Perhaps most troubling, the president has failed to provide any explanation of how he could have made his very specific statements, yet now be unable to back them up with supporting evidence. Was there an Iraqi informant thought to be reliable, who turned out not to be? Were satellite photos innocently, if negligently, misinterpreted? Or was his evidence not as solid as he led the world to believe?

The absence of any explanation for the gap between the statements and reality only increases the sense that the president's misstatements may actually have been intentional lies.

Investigating The Iraqi War Intelligence Reports

Even now, while the jury is still out as to whether intentional misconduct occurred, the president has a serious credibility problem. Newsweek magazine posed the key questions:"If America has entered a new age of preemption -- when it must strike first because it cannot afford to find out later if terrorists possess nuclear or biological weapons -- exact intelligence is critical. How will the United States take out a mad despot or a nuclear bomb hidden in a cave if the CIA can't say for sure where they are? And how will Bush be able to maintain support at home and abroad?"

In an apparent attempt to bolster the President's credibility, and his own, Secretary Rumsfeld himself has now called for a Defense Department investigation into what went wrong with the pre-war intelligence. The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd finds this effort about on par with O. J. looking for his wife's killer. But there may be a difference: Unless the members of the administration can find someone else to blame -- informants, surveillance technology, lower-level personnel, you name it -- they may not escape fault themselves.

Congressional committees are also looking into the pre-war intelligence collection and evaluation. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said his committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee would jointly investigate the situation. And the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence plans an investigation.

These investigations are certainly appropriate, for there is potent evidence of either a colossal intelligence failure or misconduct -- and either would be a serious problem. When the best case scenario seems to be mere incompetence, investigations certainly need to be made.

Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) -- a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee - told CNN's Aaron Brown that while he still hopes they find WMD or at least evidence thereof, he has also contemplated three other possible alternative scenarios:

One is that [the WMD] were spirited out of Iraq, which maybe is the worst of all possibilities, because now the very thing that we were trying to avoid, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, could be in the hands of dozens of groups. Second, that we had bad intelligence. Or third, that the intelligence was satisfactory but that it was manipulated, so as just to present to the American people and to the world those things that made the case for the necessity of war against Iraq.

Sen. Graham seems to believe there is a serious chance that it is the final scenario that reflects reality. Indeed, Graham told CNN"there's been a pattern of manipulation by this administration."

Graham has good reason to complain. According to the New York Times, he was one of the few members of the Senate who saw the national intelligence estimate that was the basis for Bush's decisions. After reviewing it, Sen. Graham requested that the Bush administration declassify the information before the Senate voted on the administration's resolution requesting use of the military in Iraq.

But rather than do so, CIA Director Tenet merely sent Graham a letter discussing the findings. Graham then complained that Tenet's letter only addressed"findings that supported the administration's position on Iraq," and ignored information that raised questions about intelligence. In short, Graham suggested that the administration, by cherrypicking evidence only to its own liking, had manipulated the information to support its conclusion.

Recent statements by one of the high-level officials privy to the decisionmaking process that lead to the Iraqi war also strongly suggests manipulation, if not misuse of the intelligence agencies. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, during an interview with Sam Tannenhaus of Vanity Fair magazine, said:"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason." More recently, Wolfowitz added what most have believed all along, that the reason we went after Iraq is that"[t]he country swims on a sea of oil."

Worse Than Watergate? A Potential Huge Scandal If WMD Are Still Missing

Krugman is right to suggest a possible comparison to Watergate. In the three decades since Watergate, this is the first potential scandal I have seen that could make Watergate pale by comparison. If the Bush administration intentionally manipulated or misrepresented intelligence to get Congress to authorize, and the public to support, military action to take control of Iraq, then that would be a monstrous misdeed.

This administration may be due for a scandal. While Bush narrowly escaped being dragged into Enron, it was not, in any event, his doing. But the war in Iraq is all Bush's doing, and it is appropriate that he be held accountable.

To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be"a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony"to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose."

It's important to recall that when Richard Nixon resigned, he was about to be impeached by the House of Representatives for misusing the CIA and FBI. After Watergate, all presidents are on notice that manipulating or misusing any agency of the executive branch improperly is a serious abuse of presidential power.

Nixon claimed that his misuses of the federal agencies for his political purposes were in the interest of national security. The same kind of thinking might lead a president to manipulate and misuse national security agencies or their intelligence to create a phony reason to lead the nation into a politically desirable war. Let us hope that is not the case.


This article was first published in FindLaw.com and is reprinted with permission.


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More Comments:


Jeff A Perkins - 8/18/2008

"Did Bush lie? A short quiz"

http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0804/0804quiz.htm

Follow the link above if you want a clearer picture.


Jim E. Burton - 5/3/2007

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998.

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998.

"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998.

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998.

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998.

"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999.

"There is no doubt that . Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, Dec, 5, 2001.

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
Sen. Carl Levin (d, MI), Sept. 19, 2002.

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seing and developing weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002.

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002.

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002.

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years . We also should remember we have alway s underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Jay Rockerfeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002,

"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do."
Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002.

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction. "[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. And now he has continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ...
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003.


loop hole - 8/11/2005

From a concerned citizen:
Why is no one in the Bush administration held accountable? I think what he and his administration is much worse then what Clinton did. If it were not for the republican majority, impeachment would be in order


Mike Upstone - 3/4/2005

I quote
"Bush administration policy toward the Middle East is being run by men - yes, only men - who were routinely referred to in high circles in Washington during the 1980s as the "crazies". I can attest to that personally, but one need not take my word for it.

According to James Naughtie, author of The Accidental American: Tony Blair and the Presidency, former secretary of state Colin Powell added an old soldier's adjective to the "crazies" sobriquet in referring to the same officials. Powell, who was military aide to defense secretary Casper Weinberger in the early 1980s, was overheard calling them "the f---ing crazies" during a phone call with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw before the war in Iraq.

At the time, Powell was reportedly deeply concerned over their determination to attack - with or without United Nations approval. Small wonder that they got rid of Powell after the election, as soon as they had no more use for him."

The policy:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2326.htm

The verdict of some credible administration insiders:
http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/GC03Ak03.html

Need anyone add more?


Sean Nichols - 10/14/2004

---"After all, no WMD have been found, and given Bush's statements, they should not have been very hard to find -- for they existed in large quantities, "thousands of tons" of chemical weapons alone."

Gee. What a scandal! ---

Right you are! Too bad the reason we invaded that country turned out to be completely wrong. Oopsy-daisy! Which...I dunno, might bother some people...ya know? Like, maybe those kids that died because of it...or their parents...
So I guess President Bush now has hundreds of thousands of accounts of manslaughter to answer for.
What? Our President, a murderer?
I envy you, because the rest of us who ARE informed, see what a sh**-hole this administration has dragged our country into, and it's very depressing. The most depressing thing though, is people like you, who are indeed "Blinded by the Right".


geohagan2000 doe - 6/19/2004

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them.
That is our bottom line."
President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998-Truth!
This was a quote from President Clinton during a presentation at the Pentagon defending a decision to conduct military strikes against Iraq.

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear.
We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998-Truth!
Bill Clinton went to the Pentagon on this occasion to be briefed by top military officials about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.
His remarks followed that briefing.

"Iraq is a long way from USA but, what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998-Truth!
This is a quote from Albright during an appearance at Ohio State University by Albright, who was Secretary of State for Bill Clinton.

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998-Truth!
This was at the same Ohio State University appearance as Madeline Albright.
"We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S.Constitution and Laws, to take necessary actions, (including, if appropriate,
air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction
programs."
Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998-Truth!
According to the U.S. Senate website, the text of this letter was signed by several Senators, both Democrat and Republican, including Senator John McCain and Joseph Lieberman.

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998-Truth!
The text of this statement by Nancy Pelosi is posted on her congressional website.

"Hussein has .. chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999-Truth!
This was from an appearance Albright made in Chicago.
She was addressing the embargo of Iraq that was in effect at the time and criticism that it may have prevented needed medical supplies from getting into the country. Albright said, "There has never been an embargo against food and medicine. It's just that Hussein has just not chosen to spend his money on that. Instead, he has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction, and palaces for his cronies."

"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs
continue a pace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001Truth!
The only letter with this quote from December 5, 2001 that we could find did not include the participation of Senator Bob Graham, but it was signed nine other senators including Democrat Joe Lieberman.
It urged President Bush to take quicker action against Iraq.

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002-Truth!
These were remarks from Senator Levin to a Senate committee on that date.

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002-Truth!
This and the quote below was part of prepared remarks for a speech in San Francisco to The Commonwealth Club.

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002-Truth!

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002-Truth!
Part of a speech he gave at Johns Hopkins.

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998.
We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities.
Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002-Truth!
On the floor of the Senate during debate over the resolution that would authorize using force against Iraq.
He was urging caution about going to war and commented that even though there was confidence about the weapons in Iraq, there had not been the need to take military action for a number of years and he asked why there would be the need at that point.

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002-Truth!
Senator Kerry's comments were made to the Senate as part of the same debate over the resolution to use force against Saddam Hussein.

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated
the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002-Truth!
Senator Rockefeller's statements were a part of the debate over using force against Saddam Hussein.

"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his
chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do" Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002-Truth!
Senator Waxman's contribution to the Senate debate over going to war.

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological
weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program.
He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002-Truth!
Senator Clinton acknowledged the threat of Saddam Hussein but said she did not feel that using force at that time was a good option.

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime He presents a
particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his
continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction
So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ..."
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan.23.2003-Truth!
In a speech to Georgetown University


David Veksler - 12/16/2003

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security." -- Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002


MARIA LAMPERT - 12/7/2003

IF HNN WANTS TO BE TAKEN MORE SERIOUSLY AS A PUBLIC ORGAN FOR DEBATE OF ANY KIND MUCH LESS FOR THE BODY POLITIC, THEN YOU NEED TO REFRAIN FROM PUBLISHING LETTERS SUCH AS THE ONE WRITTEN BY FAYE ROSE. THE WOMAN RANTS NOT DEBATES. HER LETTER FALLS FAR BELOW THE LEVEL THAT INVITES CRITICISM. AS ANYONE WHO MIGHT DO SO WOULD BE AS REDICULOUS AS SHE.


Faye Rose - 11/16/2003

I find it hard to believe that Tim Russet does not go after the Democratic candidates more vigorously than he does the Republicans that share the platform with him. He show clips and read articles of things they have said in the past. Yet when the Republicans are on his show they receive 1 question and whatever the answer they give he accepts and never challenge them. The media need to be more fair to all the people. Bush does not have the support of the country and he clearly don't have a mandate to do what he is doing. I know that it is to the media's best interest to promote Bush for self interest alone, forget the regular american citizen. Bush clearly will lose, no matter what poll you show, we know that these polls are conducted where he does get approval not where he will get the votes. Every group that you call a group is angry with this administration. The Gay, The Movie Stars, The Blacks, Veterans, the people that have lost their money in ENRON, The Veterans. Where will he get the votes? Or will you all help him cheat again. Tim Russet the least you could do was try to appear fair and you don't even do this. Where are those twin misfits of Bush? You talk about honor in the white house. This man comes from a disfunctional family. What about Ned and that other hoodlum brother of his, doesn't he have a sister? What about Mrs. Laura Bush killing someone in a drunk driving accident? Why is that you never see him with family his kids during the holiday picture taking events? We use to see Clinton's daughter. And look what she is doing with her life now. This man has no morals. He lied to the country about a war. Lying about a personal issue is far from lying about the country's business. Why don't you all examine why Halliburton are getting all these contracts over in Iraq? Or find out who is on that energy commission? Why don't you investigate Ken Lay, the presidents friend? There are lots of questions that you all want ask that americans need to know about this man that is leading this country to hell and quite frankly he is to dumb to be a president.


DCCyclone - 7/14/2003

As a new poster here, let me start by saying I've been opposed to the war in Iraq the entire time, and Dean's article and others I've read recently have only confirmed my worst fears about Dubya and his cronies.

That said, I think a majority of constitutional scholars believe the type of resolution Congress passed to authorize Dubya's "use of force" in Iraq is sufficient as a declaration of war under the Constitution. Two of my own law school professors from my law school days (1990 to 1993) disagreed with each other on this issue, with one thinking a resolution must be much more clear than the Iraq resolution or the Gulf of Tonkin resolution to be deemed a declaration of war, and the other thinking these types of resolutions are sufficient to be considered declarations of war. I tend toward accepting looser language as a declaration of war, so long as Congress, in passing the resolution, clearly understands that a declaration of war and all the Presidential authority that attaches to it is what it is really voting on.


holly - 6/25/2003

you are truely an idiot


Jerry West - 6/25/2003

-
NYGuy wrote:

Jerry, this is getting serious. I see our relationship changing, and even getting civil.

JW:

Civil is preferable. :)


NYGuy - 6/24/2003

JW

"It has nothing to do with different standards or anyone's analysis except yours. You have characterized those you disagree with as hating America, a view which is unsubstantiated. It is simple, despite all of the verbage that has come forth in rebuttal irrelevant to that point. You have yet to put forward any solid argument that indicates these people hate America. Even tongue in cheek it makes no sense."

NYGuy

My position was clearly stated in the last post. The double standard is that you are outraged that I illustrated how misleading and defamatory the "if" statement can be when the two hacks, Krugman and Dean used it to defame the President of the U. S.

The point is that Dean and Krugman were dishonest, and unfair in their argument. Now you say if I used the same tactic with the "if" statement I am being dishonest and unfarir.

Wow, you finally understand. Thank you.

JW

I scratch my head. How could you come up with the idea logically from anything that I said that I wanted to hide Dean's record? My argument has been that we should be looking at all records equally.

NYGuy

You are right I got carried away. But you did know what his record was so you do have an interest. I agree we should hold Dean to the same standard.

JW

I agree, and it is starting to look seriously like we will have to have a regime change inorder to not have a lying President.

NYGuy

That is what this great country is all about. Again we agree on something, oops, I didn't mean a change of President.

What difference is it if GW is a lying President. We have nothing left to be proud of with our Presidents anyway. We can't name schools after Washington because he was a slave owener, and Jefferson is an evil person since he slept with his slaves, and,ooops no I am trying to change and won't go there. But there are a lot of other examples.

Doesn't seem we have anything to be proud of any more, not even Babe Ruth or to be politically correct Hank Aaron and Sammy Sosa.

JW

Sometimes I wonder if you bother to carefully read what I have written. Your assumption here is pure fantasy.

NYGuy

That is cruel Jerry. I hope you never get old.


JW

Your statement is confusing since my position here is in agreement with yours and I have not indicated otherwise.

NYGuy

Another agreement. I am getting a little nervous. I may not be as smart as I thought.

JW

I doubt if his father's war record is the reason for the pass. As for George the First I have no qualms with his military service, like George McGovern and many others he walked the walk. I may disagree with his politics, but not his devotion to duty.

NYGuy

Another agreement.

Jerry, this is getting serious. I see our relationship changing, and even getting civil. I am going to have to give this a lot of thought. I could be wrong.

No that is not the answer.

Cheers and have a good day.

NYGUY






Jerry West - 6/24/2003

-
NYGuy wrote:

What is it that you disagree with? Are you saying that you have one standard for these two politcal hacks and their faulty analysis and a different one for those with whom you disagree. Nothing new that I have not experienced before.

JW:

It has nothing to do with different standards or anyone's analysis except yours. You have characterized those you disagree with as hating America, a view which is unsubstantiated. It is simple, despite all of the verbage that has come forth in rebuttal irrelevant to that point. You have yet to put forward any solid argument that indicates these people hate America. Even tongue in cheek it makes no sense.

NYG:

Since you wanted GW and his administraion's military record uncovered why do you want to hide the record of Dean?

JW:

I scratch my head. How could you come up with the idea logically from anything that I said that I wanted to hide Dean's record? My argument has been that we should be looking at all records equally.

NYG:

We don't want to go through another Monica and Bill situation and elect another lying President. What is wrong with that?

JW:

I agree, and it is starting to look seriously like we will have to have a regime change inorder to not have a lying President.

NYG:

Second: If you object to people investigating draft dodgers,....

JW:

Sometimes I wonder if you bother to carefully read what I have written. Your assumption here is pure fantasy.

NYG:

Jerry sorry for any misunderstanding. I should have been clearer. That was not my question. it was raised by the moderator,....

JW:

Thank you.

NYG:

I don't agree with you on your position. I believe we should know as much as possible about a candidate before we elect him/her.

JW:

Your statement is confusing since my position here is in agreement with yours and I have not indicated otherwise.

NYG:

GW may well have gotten a pass since his father was a true American who left Yale at 17 and was a great war hero....

JW:

I doubt if his father's war record is the reason for the pass. As for George the First I have no qualms with his military service, like George McGovern and many others he walked the walk. I may disagree with his politics, but not his devotion to duty.


NYGuy - 6/24/2003

JW wrote:

"Maybe not, but you said about Dean: "He was also questioned on his Vietnam deferment after which he went skiing for 80 day on some difficult bumpy mountains." Which sounds to me like a dig him for having a deferment. Personally I don't know what kind of a military record he has, but if he dodged Vietnam the Bushies have absolutely no space to criticize him for it given the less than stellar record of Georgie and most of his staff who avoided service to their country in the regular forces and either hid out in the National Guard, or cooked up an excuse to shirk their duty."

PAC,

Jerry sorry for any misunderstanding. I should have been clearer. That was not my question. it was raised by the moderator, Tim Russet who was merely doing his job, not disrepecting Dean and not being partisan. As part of the question Tim raised the issue that he went skiing for 80 days, on bumpy mountains trails, and asked for an explaination.

Nothing unsavory or partisan on either Tim or my part. Reporting on what was asked and answered in no way reflects anything about my opinions as an objective observer, nor can it be claimed that I was making some partisan comments.

I think this issue will be investigated further if Dean gains legs. So what is the problem that is being raised? I don't agree with you on your position. I believe we should know as much as possible about a candidate before we elect him/her. GW may well have gotten a pass since his father was a true American who left Yale at 17 and was a great war hero who helped save this country from dictators, and a fine example of the character that made this a great country. Life is not fair but things like that happen.

Cheers.


NYGuy - 6/24/2003

JW you wrote:

Actually you said, and I quote: "if, the leader of the DNC has no ideas and only criticizes this country then one could conclude that the Democrats 'Hate America.'"

PAC:

Actually I said,

"Base on the the type of analysis presented by Krugman and Dean one could reason that "if", "a big if, the leader of the DNC has no ideas and only criticizes this country then one could conclude that the Democrats "Hate America."

An "if" statement given with tongue in cheek to show how bankrupt the reasoning is of Dean and Krugman are and that is my analysis and opinion, and part of political criticism.

What is it that you disagree with? Are you saying that you have one standard for these two politcal hacks and their faulty analysis and a different one for those with whom you disagree. Nothing new that I have not experienced before.

Dean and Krugman say "if" gw lied, then this is worse than watergate.

It is merely a political construction used to excite their base, and proves nothing. Do you mean to say that the way you look at these two articles is that Dean and Krugman gave evidence that Bush lied, and Dean and Krugman made a factual statement that, "gw lied which is worst than watergate." Hmm.

I guess you also take as a proven fact that:

"if pigs had wings they could fly, transportation costs would be reduced and pork chops would be cheaper." Hmm.

Interesting you would accept such an aguement. Hmm. I see that critcal thinking is not something you care about. I bet you are a historian. That is why Zinn is so popular in college courses.


JW you wrote:

You are characterizing criticism of the country as hating America, that is unless this is not your writing and you were only quoting someone else for some reason you haven't qualified and you forgot to attribute the quote.


PAC

Out of the Blue you make up your own construction to try to win the argument. That is your arguemtnt not mine, so go argue it with some who believes what you are saying. I don't. Frankly I don;t know what you are trying to say, but if you believe it, I support your right to do so.

Again we see you using a double standard:

JW

Maybe not, but you said about Dean: "He was also questioned on his Vietnam deferment after which he went skiing for 80 day on some difficult bumpy mountains." Which sounds to me like a dig him for having a deferment. Personally I don't know what kind of a military record he has, but if he dodged Vietnam the Bushies have absolutely no space to criticize him for it given the less than stellar record of Georgie and most of his staff who avoided service to their country in the regular forces and either hid out in the National Guard, or cooked up an excuse to shirk their duty.

PAC

As usual you overlook significant differences. Inquring minds want to know. Must one present his questions to you so we do not hurt your sensitive nature in the "political arena."

Good reporters ask difficult quesions all the time. It is called Democracy.

As you say you know what GW's record. We do not know what Dean's military or rather non-military record is.

Since you wanted GW and his administraion's military record uncovered why do you want to hide the record of Dean? Again if everything is on the up and up there is no reason for a cover up and he should come clean. He sounds like he is fit for military service, but if there is something we don't know it should be investigated. After all we all remember Clinton's letter of deferment.

We don't want to go through another Monica and Bill situation and elect another lying President. What is wrong with that?

Second: If you object to people investigating draft dodgers, and people who go to foreign lands to talk against their country, why didn't you raise your voice earlier, then we would not know about GW's military history, (as you have obviously found out), since it is evidently not important to you, and there would be no need to carry this matter further.

Again, not faithfully quoting someone and reconstructing their comments to suit your purpose is very dishonest.

cheers


Jerry West - 6/24/2003

-
NYGuy wrote:

First you say the use of the phrase “hate America” is a pat esponse. You obviously are talking about some others you have had discussions with. You cannot prove or attribute that to me.

JW:

Actually you said, and I quote: "if, the leader of the DNC has no ideas and only criticizes this country then one could conclude that the Democrats 'Hate America.'"

You are characterizing criticism of the country as hating America, that is unless this is not your writing and you were only quoting someone else for some reason you haven't qualified and you forgot to attribute the quote.

NYG:

Since you are talking about dictators what they thought was immaterial to the peoples ability to have other opinions and also impossible to have their ideas accepted.

JW:

Except that we were not discussing peoples' ability to have opinions. You said that you preferred to have a leader that knew what they were doing, I illustrated that knowing what one is doing does not necessarily make for a good leader. All of your subsequent remarks about democracy and people being able to evaluate the leader are not germane to that specific point.

NYG:

I never attacked Dean on his military record....

JW:

Maybe not, but you said about Dean: "He was also questioned on his Vietnam deferment after which he went skiing for 80 day on some difficult bumpy mountains." Which sounds to me like a dig him for having a deferment. Personally I don't know what kind of a military record he has, but if he dodged Vietnam the Bushies have absolutely no space to criticize him for it given the less than stellar record of Georgie and most of his staff who avoided service to their country in the regular forces and either hid out in the National Guard, or cooked up an excuse to shirk their duty.

I think that we should apply the same standard to Dean that we do to Bush. For me that means being critical of his service or lack thereof as the case may be. For the Bushies it means being forgiving of any cowardly dodge used to escape service, since they seem to extend that attitude to Little George and his crew.





NYGuy - 6/24/2003

JW wrote:

Hitler thought that he knew what he was doing, and I bet Saddam did too. Knowing what you are doing is not a guarantee that you are a good leader, at least good in the sense that you are good for the country or the world.

I would like my leaders to have convictions, but also to be able to step back when things go wrong and say oops, apologize for the mistake, correct it and move on. Note I said apologize, not make an excuse. One connotes responsibility, the other shirking it.

NYGuy

Jerry what is your point? You have a right to your own opinions, but I don’t see how that impacts on anything I did or said. I agree many leaders thought they knew what they were doing. Since you are talking about dictators what they thought was immaterial to the peoples ability to have other opinions and also impossible to have their ideas accepted.

We have a different type of government in which the people are able to review and evaluate the leaders they choose and arrive at their own opinion as you have.

If someone stumbles often and apparently makes a lot of mistakes, then voters have a right to take such failures into consideration in their evaluation of the candidate. That does not mean you should not vote for someone because they are not consistent. That is your personal choice, which I don’t believe you would have under a government headed by Hitler or Saddam. Again, everyone should be able to evaluate the comments of the candidate as you do. Don’t you agree?

JW

”Acutally it is those who spout off unsupportable charges of "hate America" as a pat response to any view that they do not agree with that I am refering to. I wouldn't say that Georgie hates America, a liar maybe, crooked maybe, but not hateful of America. And, if there is probable cause to think these things about the man, then I wouldn't consider it demonization. So far I have seen very little to indicate that anyone on this list or in dissent against the GWB agenda is hateful toward America, rather I would say that the dissent arises from a love of America. Exercising the right to dissent is a very patriotic thing, don't you think?

NYGuy

Could not agree with more. But, why are you preaching to me since I do not fall into that category. First you say the use of the phrase “hate America” is a pat response. You obviously are talking about some others you have had discussions with. You cannot prove or attribute that to me. Second you say “if there is probable cause….., then I wouldn’t consider it demonization.” Since that standard does not apply to anything I said, and I agree with you, then what is your point? I would also note your use of the “if” argument.

If pigs had wings, transportation cost could be reduced and pork chops probably would be cheaper. Can’t deny that.

But, it then has to follow if you want to discredit my tongue in cheek use of an “if” comment,(which I made clear was an example) mimicking Dean and Krugman’s unsubstantiated articles in which they are using the “if’ argument, (as you have done) to prove their case, then you have to also discredit what Dean and Krugman have to say in their articles. They are not engaging in dissent, but in propaganda since they have no proof of anything they suggest, but are engaging only in conjecture and propaganda using the “what if” argument which is pure nonsense.

I would say that I support anyone’s right to say they “hate America” because they are in America and are entitled to free speech. Their motive is not my consideration; I merely deal with their ideas and reasons, not their motives. Just as I would not question the motives of anyone who says they, “love America”, but I would evalute their ideas and reasons. You may be a mind reader but most people are not.

JW

For a supporter of GWB to attack Dean on his military record is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. If Dean should be rejected for his service or lack thereof, so should Bush and most of his cabinet and close advisors who all share one thing in common, a yellow stripe.

NYGuy

I never attacked Dean on his military record and never implied that he had a “a yellow stripe”. How could I since Dean says there is nothing wrong and I have no evidence to the contrary to make such a charge? But, the press has already been through investigating the Bush administration, and you have to agree that all members of the Bush government have undergone such scrutiny.

But you don’t want to apply the same standard to your candidate. Why do you think Dean should be an exception if he has nothing to hide? Any request to review Dean’s
lack of military service is something that has been reviewed for all Presidential candidates over the past many years.

On the Sunday program Dean did not know the number of people in the Service and had no response on anything military. I want to have better answer for someone who want to be a Commander In Chief.

Where is the attack on Dean, are we not allowed to make up our own minds by asking questions? Now that sounds like a Hitler or Saddam type of government. I hope that is not what we can expect from the Democrats, particularly since they have been so negative with ideas or programs.

JW

“The Republicans would be on much firmer moral ground if they had chosen McCain, but then if they had we probably would not be bogged down in the killing fields of the Mideast and South Asia, wasting good American lives.”

NYGuy

That is merely your opinion, and we all have opinions on this subject. I defend your right to such speech. And, if you disagree with the Republicans than you should vote for your candidate of choice. As I said you are preaching to the choir, and you don’t have to agree with anything I say, but to reconstruct what I say and change my meaning is indeed disingenuous.


Jerry West - 6/23/2003

-
NYGuy wrote:

Dean said he constantly makes apologies. I prefer to have a leader like GW who knows what he is doing, not a trail and error novice. The President's job is too serious.

JW:

Hitler thought that he knew what he was doing, and I bet Saddam did too. Knowing what you are doing is not a guarantee that you are a good leader, at least good in the sense that you are good for the country or the world.

I would like my leaders to have convictions, but also to be able to step back when things go wrong and say oops, apologize for the mistake, correct it and move on. Note I said apologize, not make an excuse. One connotes responsibility, the other shirking it.

NYG:

You are being facetious as usual. There are two articles written by two political hacks, Krugman and Dean, that use wordsmithing, including the “if” analogy, to “demonize GW. Neither has any proof that he lied but they create that impression and then go on to accuse him of creating a “Watergate” affair. I assume these are the people you think are “kind of like putting on a white sheet and pillow case.” I agree with you.

JW:

Acutally it is those who spout off unsupportable charges of "hate America" as a pat response to any view that they do not agree with that I am refering to. I wouldn't say that Georgie hates America, a liar maybe, crooked maybe, but not hateful of America. And, if there is probable cause to think these things about the man, then I wouldn't consider it demonization. So far I have seen very little to indicate that anyone on this list or in dissent against the GWB agenda is hateful toward America, rather I would say that the dissent arises from a love of America. Exercising the right to dissent is a very patriotic thing, don't you think?

NYG:

“Are we comparing military service of our leaders here?” What do you think the Bush haters have been doing on this board?

JW:

For a supporter of GWB to attack Dean on his military record is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. If Dean should be rejected for his service or lack thereof, so should Bush and most of his cabinet and close advisors who all share one thing in common, a yellow stripe. The Republicans would be on much firmer moral ground if they had chosen McCain, but then if they had we probably would not be bogged down in the killing fields of the Mideast and South Asia, wasting good American lives.

Perhaps they might come up with someone much better in 2004. Eric Shinseki just retired as Chairman of the JCS. He is a respected soldier who has kept his head above water in the current mess, he might be a candidate worth voting for. Colin Powell, too, would be a better choice.




NYGuy - 6/23/2003

Jerry,

JW

“Demonizing those one disagrees with is a cheap rhetorical tool when solid arguments won't do the trick. Kind of like putting on a white sheet and pillow case. :)”

NYG

You are being facetious as usual. There are two articles written by two political hacks, Krugman and Dean, that use wordsmithing, including the “if” analogy, to “demonize GW. Neither has any proof that he lied but they create that impression and then go on to accuse him of creating a “Watergate” affair. I assume these are the people you think are “kind of like putting on a white sheet and pillow case.” I agree with you.

I would also add Carpenter with his bait and switch tactics and of course Kriz, Williams, the bunch of hacks who came out of the woodwork to jump on board and agree with Krugman and Dean’s “cheap rhetorical tools” in “demonizing” GW, when solid arguments couldn’t do the trick. And I don’t believe you were upset when a bunch “highly politicized historians who put the lives of American troops in danger with their “Demonizing GW, Cheney, Rumsfield, DOD, American Troops, and the Republican party, accusing them of “destroy our cultural history.” Evidently this type of rhetoric does not bother you, since they are your people.

But note what I said was, “one could reason that "if", "a big if.” You obviously missed the point of my sarcasm, but turn around is fair play.

JW

“Some criticism. We would be better off if everyone had this philosphy. Much preferable to someone who digs in and refuses to admit that they made a mistake and continues to compound it. Example exist across the political spectrum.”

NYG

Dean said he constantly makes apologies. I prefer to have a leader like GW who knows what he is doing, not a trail and error novice. The President's job is too serious.

JW

And the point is? Are we comparing military service of our leaders here? I can think of a bunch of cowards who dodged the Vietnam War currently now responsible for sending good soldiers off to die for no good purpose. Disgusting.

NYG

Again I can’t believe you can make this type of statement with a straight face. You ask, “Are we comparing military service of our leaders here?” What do you think the Bush haters have been doing on this board? I don’t want to go back and discuss Mogadishu. Lets look ahead.

Always enjoy your comments, but as Kriz said, “politics is blood sport” :)

Cheers


Josh Greenland - 6/23/2003

"Sites that intelligence had estimated were WMD affiliated. I suspect they didn't anticpate having to check every Ali or Akbar's garage, either."

Yes, for the dreaded Trailers of Mass Destruction:

http://www.nypress.com/16/23/news&columns/signorile.cfm


Jerry West - 6/23/2003

-
As an aside to all of the economic gibberish flying back and forth, I thought that this article might be amusing:

http://www.observer.co.uk/business/story/0,6903,982271,00.html


Jerry West - 6/23/2003

-
NYGuy wrote:

....one could reason that "if", "a big if, the leader of the DNC has no ideas and only criticizes this country then one could conclude that the Democrats "Hate America."

JW:

One could, but it is not very good reasoning. One could extrapolate from this that those who criticized Clinton and his administration also hated America. A related fantasy.

Demonizing those one disagrees with is a cheap rhetorical tool when solid arguments won't do the trick. Kind of like putting on a white sheet and pillow case. :)

I doubt if there are very many people on either side of the debate who hate America, though I don't doubt many disagree with policies of one kind or another, and may not think too fondly of some of the people behind those policies.

NYG:

He said when I make a mistake I apologize.

JW:

Some criticism. We would be better off if everyone had this philosphy. Much preferable to someone who digs in and refuses to admit that they made a mistake and continues to compound it. Example exist across the political spectrum.

NYG:

He was also questioned on his Vietnam deferment after which he went skiing for 80 day on some difficult bumpy mountains.

JW:

And the point is? Are we comparing military service of our leaders here? I can think of a bunch of cowards who dodged the Vietnam War currently now responsible for sending good solidiers off to die for no good purpose. Disgusting.

NYG:

....get out the vote for the Democrats.

JW:

You don't have to worry about that, they are no better than the Republicans. :)


NYGuy - 6/22/2003

Terry McAuliff, Chairman of the DNC delivered the Democrats negative, bankrupt message on the CBS Morning Show this morning. During an approximately 20 minute discussion McAuliff was unable to say anything positive and failed to articulate any new ideas except those that were increasing more negative than before.

Base on the the type of analysis presented by Krugman and Dean one could reason that "if", "a big if, the leader of the DNC has no ideas and only criticizes this country then one could conclude that the Democrats "Hate America."

Meanwhile Dean was on NBC apologizing for the many misrepresentation statements that he made. He said when I make a mistake I apologize. He was also questioned on his Vietnam deferment after which he went skiing for 80 day on some difficult bumpy mountains. Like McAuliff he had nothing positive to add, and although he says he made a lot of mistakes he is willing to apologize. Do we want to turn the world over to another apologist?

Look, if you want to take down this country, which many on this board want to do, get out the vote for the Democrats. That is if you favor a party with no positive ideas, no programs and no lealders, but are stand up guy who aren't afraid to apologize.


NYGuy - 6/22/2003

Don William’s attempt to discuss the deficit was basically meaningless and very similar to my story of Babe Ruth’s strikeouts. Don only produced a bunch of numbers but did not benchmark, nor frame them for further analysis. As any one who has analyzed economic data knows the very minimum effort one should use is to analyze Debt as a percentage of the economy such as GDP or GNP. Then he has to forecast what percentage debt will be of the economy over the next few years, and how these percentages compare with historical values.

As for Keynes I may not have made myself clear. I only mentioned his name once when I suggested that Don might want to understand deficit spending and the economy since Keynes was a pioneer in this field, and thought he should start with his theories.

Keynes ideas were popularize after WWII by the Harvard economists and Reich and many other economists still use his ideas. Obviously the theory was not perfect and others have build on it over the past 50 years. We also have other economic theories such as the Chicago School as well as one in which wealth should be redistribution. This latter one, however, is a bankrupt theory, which has failed miserably, and there is no need to discuss it here, even though many historians and others still believe it.

Jerry cites the Chicago School and Friedman’s Neo-Classical Theory, which deals primarily with controlling the money supply to control inflation as well as his ideas on the Philip’s Curve and limited government intervention since the economy will tend to full employment. This does not contradict anything I said, or impact or affect the weakness of Don’s post.

Reich, from a Keynesian point of view has no problems with debt levels and deficits and writes:

“Yet not until the U.S. entered World War II did F.D.R. try Keynes' idea on a scale necessary to pull the nation out of the doldrums--and Roosevelt, of course, had little choice. The big surprise was just how productive America could be when given the chance. Between 1939 and 1944 (the peak of wartime production), the nation's output almost doubled, and unemployment plummeted--from more than 17% to just over 1%.”

Do you or Don know what the percentage debt was to our economy in 1944 as compared to what the projected numbers are for the deficits over the next five years? Until Don produces this information he cannot come to a meaningful economic conclusion.

Don and you believe that it is extremely unlikely that enough growth could occur to make up the increased burden of debt Bush has added. How do you come to this conclusion without showing what your projections for economic growth are. What about Reich’s comments of how the nation’s output almost doubled from 1939 to 1944 following a period of high debt levels?

As for tax cuts stimulating the economy Reich quotes tax cuts during Johnson’s administration, which stimulated the economy, and others have cited the benefits on the economy of Kennedy’s tax cut.

But, we must look forward and GW is doing a great job of pulling us out of the recession Clinton failed to prevent and dumped into his lap two months after he took office. Six months later GW had to deal with 9/11, which put the U. S. in a state of war. During wartime deficits do increase but no one is expecting our deficits to reach the same percentage of our economy as they did in WWII.

A very important factor in our bottoming out is GW’s leadership which has restored the confidence of investors and the American people, and enable the stock market to rise sharply this year. This has greatly increased the “wealth effect” which is another important stimulant for economic growth and as we discussed tax cuts is a further economic stimulant.

Thus I believe the economy is now bottoming out and we are at the beginning of a major economic boom.

In conclusion, because of poor analysis, Don’s posting of debt levels in my opinion was meaningless and has not added anything to this discussion.


Hepatitus - 6/21/2003

You've got yourself all confused. keynes favored deficits as part of his general program of interventionist, "progressive" gvernment. Keynes believed in running short term deicits to stimulate economic growth. He advocated social programs which put money in the hands of ordinary consumers. This had the advantage of redistributing income towards the less wealthy and also stimulating the economy. He was not at all opposed to big government--it's not unreasonable, in many ways, to say that keynes is the father of liberal "big government," which is why Robert Reich likes him so much. Keynes never advocated permanent deficits: rather he argued that deficit spending was one of a set of tolls the government could use to manage the economy and the distribution of wealth. he never argued for huge deficits: he argued against the orthodoxy of the times, which was that deficits were ALWAYS bad. he never argued for tax cuts--he favored, as I said, progressive taxation, which taxes the rich more heavily than the poor. Keynes felt about deficits the way he felt about inflation--in managed, controlled doses, both could be good for the economy. if either got out of control, disaster.

Here's the difference with Bush--why he is not a Keynsian, and why invoking Kaynes in a discissuion of Bush's deficit is odd.

Bush is creating the deficit not by new social spending, but by cutting taxes.This reduces the government's power to act in the economy. Bush's tax cuts have dramatically inflated the deficit--staggeringly, really--while also shifting the tax burden from the rich to the poor. This is Don's point. Bush is actively opposed, and has been his whole career, to the kind of liberal social spending which Keynes inspired. He has also established a deficit which we cannot grow our way out of, and which will require us to cut major social entitlements--like medicare and social security--by 2020 or earlier.

The defense of bush's deficit is that if you put money in the hands of the rich, they will go out and create new enterprises which the poor will benefit from. the economy will grow, and govt. revenues will increase. Don's citations point out that it it is extrenely unlikely that enough growth could occur to make up the increased burden of debt Bush has created. The compensation ordinary taxpayers get from Bush's cuts--a few hundred dollars--will not even come close to offsetting the costs they will have to pay in terms of service cuts--decreased funding for education,. for roads, for health care, for police and security, for job training, for prisons and law enforcement, for parks, not to mention social security and medicare

As for me, I am much closer to Keynes--I dont' think deficits are always bad, and I think they can be used by the government to stimulate econominc growth. But a runaway, reckless deficit like Bush has established is going to have long term harmful efffects--it's going to gut the social safety net that many Americans believe in and count on. In 10 years, Social security will be bankrupt because of the deficits, and conservatives will say "see, we told you big government doesn't work. We need too eliminate these prigrams becaseu we can't afford them." Thisis not a secret--it's been part of the conservative aganda for a while now--starve the government by running deficits, and then use the excus of deficits to cut social programs

The point of this thread, however, was alwasy Bush's mendacity. A i said before, it seems clear to me that bush lied about the WMD's his reckless economic policy is another matter


Joey G - 6/21/2003

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NYGuy - 6/21/2003

Jerry,

This is getting confusing and we are getting further and further away from Don Williams posts which was on deficits. You Say:

Hepatitus wrote:

Keynsianism has been almost entirely displaced by Friedman and the Chicago school, who argue for little or no intervention in the economy, low taxes, low or zero deficits, and no tampering with the money supply.

But Hepatitus also wrote that, “Bush is running a deficit, but he's not adding social spending, unless you are counting military spending.”

Hepatitus seems to be saying that the government should run a deficit and redistribute it as social spending, while also saying that the government should not have deficits, reduce taxes and not interfere with the economy.

Hepatitus also agrees with Don Williams who says:
1) The claim that tax cuts stimulate the economy is deceit
2) The way to stimulate the economy is to keep marginal income tax rates on the rich high so that they will invest in factories, etc. in order to get capital gain.

Sounds like Don and Hepatitus both want government intervention and want to keep the peoples money for redistribution. But, no that is not right, Hepatitus wants low taxes which means we would run higher deficits. No, that can’t be right; Hapatitus wants low or no deficits and low taxes. I give up, figure it out for yourself.

Meanwhile, Meanwhile, Robert Reich, Clinton’s U. S. Secretary of Labor says: “His (Keynes) radical idea that governments should spend money they don't have may have saved capitalism.” Further he tells us: In 1964 Lyndon Johnson cut taxes to expand purchasing power and boost employment. "We are all Keynesians now,”

But, Hepatitus disagrees with Reich and agrees with Don that we should tax the rich. Oh this is getting too confusion.

Finally Reich says: ““ In light of all this, Keynes would be mystified that,,,,,,, a U.S. President wants to hold on to budget surpluses.”

This is getting out of hand, Reich says we should not have surpluses but should spend more money. I got a headache.

Jerry than adds:
I get quite a charge out of these folks spending years hammering away about fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets and reduced deficits, a very sensible point of view, then take power and spend like drunken sailors on shore leave, throwing money to their friends as fast as they can shovel it off of the back of a truck.

I think this comment is disingenuous. Althought Clinton was warned by Greenspan that the economy was overheated and we were heading for a bust, Clinton did nothing to control the economy and dropped a and dumped his recession onto GW's lap two months after he took office. Six months later we had 9/11 which Clinton failed to avoid, although he said his goal was to stop Bin Laden.

This is all very interesting but it does not change the main point that Don Williams is like a bookkeeper and copies economic data to this board but does not know how to analysis it, making his post meaningless. And Jerry your post suggests that neither you nor Hepatitus can add much to change that conclusion.


Jerry West - 6/21/2003

-
Hepatitus wrote:

Keynsianism has been almost entirely displced by Friedman and the chicago school, who argue for little or no intervention in the economy, low taxes, low or zero deficits, and no tampering with the money supply.

JW:

Which makes radical regressives like Bush and a few others I can name not Friedmanites either. I get quite a charge out of these folks spending years hammering away about fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets and reduced deficits, a very sensible point of view, then take power and spend like drunken sailors on shore leave, throwing money to their friends as fast as they can shovel it off of the back of a truck.

Look at the US deficit and budget. Look who is getting the gravy and who is footing the bill. The Bush and other similar administrations are cash cows for the rich at the expense of the rest of us.

The ideology of personal wealth and power as the supreme goal has taken control. The nation and its ideals and the sacrifices of our ancestors (at least those of us who had ancestors that fought for democracy and a more egalitarian society) are the losers.


NYGuy - 6/21/2003

Don/Hepatitus,

This discussion began with Don’s posting of deficits and other economic data.

Re Bush Presidency, he's saying debt in 2008 will be 50% ($3.3 Trillion) higher than what he promised just 2 years ago!
Posted By: Don Williams
Date Posted: June 19, 2003, 1:50 PM

The only semblance of analysis in this post was in statement #4 where Don says: “ The situation is actually far worst than I depicted.”

Maybe you can understand what he is getting at, but it does not say much.

Except for this statement the rest of his post was merely a classification of statements about economic data, much like a bookkeeper classifying a company’s expenses. The question remains, what was Don Williams point. He does not say.

Leicke jumps in with the history of Greece and takes his rant away from economics into burning down ROTC buildings, the Florida elections, and suppression of decent and tells us he is pessimistic. So we get no analysis from him, just another rant against GW.

Then some lackey calling himself “it all adds up” comments: “It all adds up. The cost of the war plus Haliburton and Poppy's gang, comes to 3.3 trillion. Don't ask for a breakdown that would be sticking your nose where it isn't allowed in conservative America.”

He has nothing original to add and is just another cheerleader.

After this post I answered with my bookkeeping and account comment.

Then Don Williams responds with his economic theory, which you said you agree with.
Don Williams says that:
1) The claim that tax cuts stimulate the economy is deceit
2) The way to stimulate the economy is to keep marginal income tax rates on the rich high so that they will invest in factories, etc. in order to get capital gains.

Then another lackey, Bush/Moon2004 jumps in to tell Don Williams how brilliant he is.

At this point I posted: Don,
”Even in college they have a department called Economics. It has very specific ideas on our debt. The fact that some bookkeeper tallies up a lot of numbers does not make him or her an economist.”

I added “Keynes was very specific on this topic”, (the debt).

You jumped in and tried to change the topic saying:
.
“Keynes has been repudiated by ALL modern conservative economists, replaced by Friedman and the Austrian school. Keynes' major premise was that the government should run a deficit to increase spending on social programs, and that it should increase the money supply to cause inflation. Roosevelt is often described as a Keynesian. Are you comparing Bush to FDR?

Bush is running a deficit, but he's not adding social spending, unless you are counting military spending. Having read a lot of Keynes I can say it's just comical to call Bush a Keynesian.”

First I never said Bush was a Keynesian

But, you also introduce other topics of money supply, social spending, etc. I was very specific on Don Williams’s topic, the Government deficit which he was primarily giving figures on, (See his headline).

You also said that you agreed that a “government should run a deficit”. I will acknowledge that you know a great deal about Keynes, but am confused by your comment when you turn around and change your mind: “He (Don) is arguing effectively that Bush’s deficit is dangerous and destructive. It makes me suspicious. Don’t you know as much about Keynes as you say or are you being deceptive”

I quoted Robert Reich since he was a Democrat and I wanted to show what others say about deficits. I read Friedman who went into the Philip’s Curve, monetary policy; social spending, etc. but said nothing about deficit spending.

Meanwhile, Reich a notable economist says: His (Keynes) radical idea that governments should spend money they don't have may have saved capitalism.

Further he tells of us: In 1964 Lyndon Johnson cut taxes to expand purchasing power and boost employment. "We are all Keynesians now,”

At the end he adds:
“ In light of all this, Keynes would be mystified that the International Monetary Fund is requiring troubled Third World nations to raise taxes and slash spending, that "euro" membership demands budget austerity, and that a U.S. President wants to hold on to budget surpluses.”

Clinton’s friend Robert B. Reich, professor of economic and social policy at Brandeis, who was U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997 clearly disagrees with you and Don Williams and supports GW’s economic policies.

We now understand that you and Don Williams agree on something. The problem is that in posting your bookkeeping ledgers you don’t tell any one what your posts mean, and at other points post contradictory opinions. Are deficits good or bad? Inquiring minds want to know.


Hepatitus - 6/20/2003

And it makes no sense. You pointed us to a summary of Keynes' career--why? Are you suggesting that Bush is like Keynes? The comparison is ridiculous; it just confims that you don't know what you are talking about.

Keynes was a liberal (and a homosexual, not that it matters) who proposed that goverment should actively intervene in the economy. Keynes was a firm believer in the idea that government must stimulate consumer demand--the "demand side" in order to get a sluggish economy moving. It should work to regulate the economy inorder to promote general equality. The money supply should increase or decrease as the government sees fit. He favored redistributive policies like the progressive income tax.

Bush, on the other hand, is primarily influenced by the "supply side" econmists who argued, against keynes, that government should reduce taxes for th rich so that their surplus income can "trickle down" to the rest of us. In the last twenty years, Keynsianism has been almost entirely displced by Friedman and the chicago school, who argue for little or no intervention in the economy, low taxes, low or zero deficits, and no tampering with the money supply.

Bush is not running a deficit in the classic keynsain mode, which is to spend the money of social programs. He is running a deficit in order to force the abandonment of programs like medicare and social security, or rather to force their prvatization. He is not favirong new social programs, he is not favoring redistributive measures, he is not promoting stimulating the demand side. He is massively stimulating the "supply side" as did Reagan. here is a link to an assessment of Keynes by friedman http://www.geocities.com/ecocorner/intelarea/mf1.html

Don Williams is doing more than just being an accountant. He is arguing effectively that Bushs deficit is dangerous and destructive, and that they will cost ordinary taxpayers thoussands of dollars. In respnse, you have called him names and four times posted an incomplete and very stale joke about accountants.


NYGuy - 6/20/2003

VA,

Glad you cleaned up your act. We are making progress. That is good to see.

Remember there are children on this board.




NYGuy - 6/20/2003

VA,

Pick up your toys and run home. As a great American said,

If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen.

In my opinion anyone who emphasizes english shows a tendency to be predudiced toward many in our society.

There are places in the North and in the South, East and West where english is not even spoken. I go to work and the only time I hear english is when I call home.

So keep up your attacks on these people. They are only trying to make a living and enjoy this great country. That is why they came here.


V.A - 6/20/2003

Wow, you just repeated a stupid analogy three times and only got it right once. Even when you say something dumb you don't even do it correctly. You must make the right wing proud...


V.A - 6/20/2003

I repeat my question, "if you can't show enough respect to your argument to spell correctly or use decent grammar, why should we bother to read it?" You are a complete fucking idiot to suggest that somehow this betrays racial prejudice (I am prejudiced against fucking idiots).

Essentially your response was a string of vicious, unfounded personal attacks. I assume this is because upon realizing you had no arguement you resorted to being an adolsecent. Keep raising your voice and an using ad hominem attacks--you betray yourself for what you are.

This conversation is over until you can come up with something legible, credible, and reasonable. Good day, and god help you.


V.A - 6/20/2003

The War is Not Over (The Nation)

George W. Bush recently told a group of GOP backers that those who question his prewar claims about the Iraqi threat are "revisionist historians." But by insisting that his Administration told the truth about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, Bush becomes the revisionist.

Revelations from intelligence and military sources increasingly lead to the conclusion that the Bush Administration misled the American people both about WMDs and about the situation in Iraq. Robert Dreyfuss notes on page 4 that the Administration's dubious "evidence" included information not only from the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, set up after the White House became unhappy with the CIA's reports, but also from a similar group working for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Ignoring the damage this truth gap does to US credibility abroad, Bush is counting on polls that say most Americans don't care whether Saddam had WMDs, or ties to Al Qaeda, to bring him through in 2004. But a current CBS poll shows that the belief that the Administration overestimated the number of WMDs is now 44 percent, up five points in two weeks. Recently, a ghost of Nixon past, John Dean, evoked the specter of impeachment: "If Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information," Dean wrote, "he is cooked."

In Britain, where journalistic and parliamentary pit bulls are fiercer, former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook shattered Tony Blair's prewar case for war, saying that Iraq "did not represent a clear and serious threat." Over here, Republican Pat Roberts, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says he'll examine the prewar intelligence on WMDs in secret hearings, signaling that he's more interested in hiding than seeking answers. His obstructionism is a good argument for the formation of an independent commission, which should hold televised hearings and call witnesses.

Such investigations could also look at the prewar planning (or lack thereof) for the occupation of Iraq. Two months after Bush had his Tom Cruise moment on the flight deck of the Abraham Lincoln, it's clear that the war is far from over. Postwar US casualties--more than fifty soldiers killed--could surpass the casualties of the war itself. The United States faces the prospect of an ugly and lengthy insurgency. Adding to the unrest, the lack of progress toward shifting authority to an interim Iraqi body has intensified resentment against US occupiers and led to fears that Iraq will be riven by competing religious and ethnic factions.

The Administration should heed Adnan Pachachi, the Iraqi elder statesman and ambassador to the United Nations in the 1960s, who recently urged US proconsul Paul Bremer to allow Iraqis to start forming an interim government. The Administration also has to admit that rebuilding Iraq is beyond the capability of the United States alone and that it's time to reach out to the international community for help. Turning over key aspects of Iraq's administration to the UN wouldn't solve all the many problems in Iraq, but it would provide some much-needed legitimacy for the presence of US forces, draw in the support and help of other countries with nation-building experience and allow Islamic countries to contribute peacekeepers and police forces to help restore order.

Clausewitz wrote of the confusion engendered by the "fog of war." Now we are muffled in a "fog of peace." But one thing is clear: The war is not over--and the questioning has just begun.


NYGuy - 6/20/2003

VA, Your predjudice about those can't write english certainly betrays your predjudice against minorities. Today we have multiculturalism, affirative action, foreign students and college graduates who can't pass an english test. You sound like one of those "Good Ole White Guys." I bet you live in a non-intergrated neighborhood, but you like to tell others how to live. Fraud. One can accurately copy information but are unable to analyze it. MY analogy is perfect for this board and those who copy information from others accurately, even though in most cases they are flawed arguments, and believe that their ability to classify data means they are making a point. No only do they copy but on my instances I used the sources given to counter their arguments. Going back to the days of Greece to discuss GW is sheer nonesense. The world is a different place today and changing rapidly. Many historians on this board don't realize that simple fact. You must be a Clinton support you have rape and sex on your mind. That is why GW is so popular, he restored decency and integrity to this country.


V.A - 6/20/2003

First minor quibble, if you can't even respect your argument enough to use basic grammar or spell things correctly why should anyone bother to read it? Your last posting was atrocious.

Secondly, your analogy was meaningless and truly makes no sense.

Third, the idea that a soundly reasoned argument based on by your own admission "accurate information" is "useless" is insane at worst and at best illogical. You are essentially saying that it is possible to convict a rapist with 'accurate infomation" but since you are okay with rape, the conviction is meaningless. Worse, you belligerently attack people for pointing out a rape occured.

Really captain America, think about your country not about party lines. If all this accurate information is pointing to Machiavelian manipulation of the public through lies, cover ups, and staged events (jesssica lynch) it is not "meaningless." You Captain America, have a duty to fight against those who would use government in a cynical, greedy way, deceiving the American people and *gasp* our troops you always ask us to support. Think back to your comic books.


NYGuy - 6/20/2003

Sorry but the ending was left off. Even I can make a mistake. Very humbling.

A parachutist who landed in a field in France sees some people biking by and asks, "where am I?"

They answer, "Why sir, you are in the middle of a field in France."

The parachutist answers, "why you must be accountants."

The cyclist answer "We are, but how did you know."

He says, "Your information is accurate, but completely meanless and completely useless."

Don, and many others on this board present information that is accurately reported, but completely meaningless and useless.


NYGuy - 6/20/2003

Hepititas,

I never called GW a Keynesian, I called him an economic genius.

But since Don Williams does not understand deficits why not begin with Keynes after all he introduced the new economic ideas on deficits that are now accepted. Then he can go on to the others you recommend.

See Robert B. Reich’s article below:

http://www.time.com/time/time100/scientist/profile/keynes.html

Reich says:

His radical idea that governments should spend money they don't have may have saved capitalism

Yet Keynes' largest influence came from a convoluted, badly organized and in places nearly incomprehensible tome published in 1936, during the depths of the Great Depression. It was called "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money."
Keynes' basic idea was simple.

In order to keep people fully employed, governments have to run deficits when the economy is slowing.

Yet not until the U.S. entered World War II did F.D.R. try Keynes' idea on a scale necessary to pull the nation out of the doldrums--and Roosevelt, of course, had little choice. The big surprise was just how productive America could be when given the chance. Between 1939 and 1944 (the peak of wartime production), the nation's output almost doubled, and unemployment plummeted--from more than 17% to just over 1% of people fully employed, governments have to run deficits when the economy is slowing.

Since Keynes is the father of modern economic theory on deficits it seems like a good place to start if you are truly an intellectual thinker and want to learn about deficits

Understanding economic theory is a lot different than just being an accountant or greeneyed bookkeeper and classifying data.

It remind me of the story of a parachutist who landed in a field in France. He sees some people biking by and asks, "where am I?" They answered, "Why sir, you are in the middle of a field in France."

The parachutist answers, "why you must be accountants."

Why yes they replied but how did you know.

Don, and many others on this board present details that are accurate, but completely meaningless and useless.


NYGuy - 6/20/2003

VA,

Your scholarship is impeccable. Quoting the likes of a discredited pol.

Recently, a ghost of Nixon past, John Dean, evoked the specter of impeachment: "If Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information," Dean wrote, "he is cooked."

Yes, and if Pigs had wings they would be able to fly.

Brillant


NYGuy - 6/20/2003

VA,

Same old same old. You are a good bookkeeper with you classification of articles, but they don't say anything. You and Don are just accounts.

Which reminds me of the story of a parachutist who landed in a field in France. He sees some people biking by and asks, "where am I?" They answered, "Why sir, you are in the middle of a field in France."

The parachutist answers, "why you must be accountants."

They replied. Yes we are, but how did you know.

Well your information is very accurate, but it is completely meanless and useless.






V.A - 6/20/2003

The War is Not Over (The Nation)

George W. Bush recently told a group of GOP backers that those who question his prewar claims about the Iraqi threat are "revisionist historians." But by insisting that his Administration told the truth about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, Bush becomes the revisionist.

Revelations from intelligence and military sources increasingly lead to the conclusion that the Bush Administration misled the American people both about WMDs and about the situation in Iraq. Robert Dreyfuss notes on page 4 that the Administration's dubious "evidence" included information not only from the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, set up after the White House became unhappy with the CIA's reports, but also from a similar group working for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Ignoring the damage this truth gap does to US credibility abroad, Bush is counting on polls that say most Americans don't care whether Saddam had WMDs, or ties to Al Qaeda, to bring him through in 2004. But a current CBS poll shows that the belief that the Administration overestimated the number of WMDs is now 44 percent, up five points in two weeks. Recently, a ghost of Nixon past, John Dean, evoked the specter of impeachment: "If Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information," Dean wrote, "he is cooked."

In Britain, where journalistic and parliamentary pit bulls are fiercer, former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook shattered Tony Blair's prewar case for war, saying that Iraq "did not represent a clear and serious threat." Over here, Republican Pat Roberts, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says he'll examine the prewar intelligence on WMDs in secret hearings, signaling that he's more interested in hiding than seeking answers. His obstructionism is a good argument for the formation of an independent commission, which should hold televised hearings and call witnesses.

Such investigations could also look at the prewar planning (or lack thereof) for the occupation of Iraq. Two months after Bush had his Tom Cruise moment on the flight deck of the Abraham Lincoln, it's clear that the war is far from over. Postwar US casualties--more than fifty soldiers killed--could surpass the casualties of the war itself. The United States faces the prospect of an ugly and lengthy insurgency. Adding to the unrest, the lack of progress toward shifting authority to an interim Iraqi body has intensified resentment against US occupiers and led to fears that Iraq will be riven by competing religious and ethnic factions.

The Administration should heed Adnan Pachachi, the Iraqi elder statesman and ambassador to the United Nations in the 1960s, who recently urged US proconsul Paul Bremer to allow Iraqis to start forming an interim government. The Administration also has to admit that rebuilding Iraq is beyond the capability of the United States alone and that it's time to reach out to the international community for help. Turning over key aspects of Iraq's administration to the UN wouldn't solve all the many problems in Iraq, but it would provide some much-needed legitimacy for the presence of US forces, draw in the support and help of other countries with nation-building experience and allow Islamic countries to contribute peacekeepers and police forces to help restore order.

Clausewitz wrote of the confusion engendered by the "fog of war." Now we are muffled in a "fog of peace." But one thing is clear: The war is not over--and the questioning has just begun.


V.A - 6/20/2003

From The Nation

Americans were duped: Evidence of Administration manipulation and mendacity just keeps rolling in.

Ever since the tragedy of Sept. 11, the Bush Administration has relied on selective and distorted intelligence data to make the case for invading Iraq. But the truth will out, and the White House is now scrambling to explain away its mendacity.

On Sunday, Condoleezza Rice admitted that President Bush had used a forged document in his State of the Union speech to prove Iraq represented a nuclear threat: "We did not know at the time--maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency--but no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery. Of course it was information that was mistaken."

United Nations inspectors, belatedly presented with the same document, realized within hours it was a crude forgery.

While this garbage and much else like it got rushed into the light, the Bush Administration protected its continuing lie about a connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein by repressing the results of interrogations of captured top Al Qaeda leaders.

As Monday's New York Times reported, Al Qaeda honchos in separate interrogations told a consistent story a year ago: The terrorist group, and Osama bin Laden in particular, had shunned any connection with Hussein and his government.

In going to war, the Administration was unable to come up with a shred of verifiable evidence linking Hussein with Bin Laden. The closest it came was a purported meeting in Prague between an Al Qaeda member and an Iraqi diplomat, which has been fully repudiated by the Czech government.

Keeping secret any information that contradicted the pro-war line of the Administration allowed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to fabricate what he called a "bulletproof" connection between Al Qaeda and Hussein. We were expected to believe that our government had hard, definitive intelligence we couldn't be shown--just as we were told to trust that UN inspectors wouldn't be able to find all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction in time to avert disaster.

Thus, with the pattern established, it was not surprising last week to read in the Los Angeles Times of a leaked report from the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency--secret since its completion last September--that indicated the depth of our government's confusion as to the nature of the Iraq WMD threat.

The report stated that "there is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, or whether Iraq has--or will--establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities," according to US officials interviewed by the Times. Yet that very month, Rumsfeld told Congress that Hussein's "regime has amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons--including VX, sarin, cyclosarin and mustard gas."

Did Rumsfeld know of the DIA report? If so, did he keep that information from the President? Or did he and Bush knowingly deceive the American people? And isn't that an impeachable offense?

Unfortunately, the President still hasn't learned his lesson.

Only last week, on his trip to Europe, he pointed to two mobile trailers the United States had seized in Iraq as proof of Iraq's threatening WMD program. Yet, as emerged over the weekend in newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic, Bush's claims rest on intelligence that is again unable to withstand scrutiny: Some leading weapons experts summoned by the Administration to make the case for the ominous trailers take issue with the Bush Administration's interpretation of their design and use.

On Saturday, the New York Times, which had originally hyped the trailer story based on official US sources, published a front-page report quoting experts who repudiated the Administration's claims.

One such expert went so far as to say the government's "white paper" on the labs "was a rushed job and looks political." Others questioned myriad technical claims and suppositions in the report that led to the government's conclusion that the trailers were germ labs that could be used to cook up anthrax or other bioweapons.

"It's not built and designed as a standard fermenter," one top US scientist told the New York Times. "Certainly, if you modify it enough you could use it. But that's true of any tin can."

On Sunday, the London Observer, citing British intelligence sources, reported that it "is increasingly likely that the units were designed to be used for hydrogen production to fill artillery balloons, part of a system originally sold to Saddam by Britain in 1987."

The British Parliament is in an uproar, but so far the US Congress has failed to exercise its obligation to hold the executive branch accountable.


NYGuy - 6/20/2003

Jerry,

Bush’s supposed lies:

Two very interesting articles but no one says that the Bush administration lied. It was the same old wordsmith techniques, i.e.:

"If you are so wrong about all three causes, then I wonder if you can honorably hold--continue to hold--your office?" If pigs had wings they could fly.

“Moreover, in insisting the intelligence process was sound and the substance accurate, the administration leaves itself open to a charge of either,,,,, “ Then it goes on to make accusations based upon unfounded information.

Clinton Could Have Prevented 9/11.

Meanwhile one of the articles confirms that Clinton knew the dangers of a 9/11, but ignored the threat and dumped the mess in GW’s lap along with the Clinton recession.

“Rumsfeld’s response is only partly true. He and Wolfowitz, along with current Vice President Dick Cheney and others now in the administration, wrote to then president Bill Clinton in “1998” urging regime change in Iraq, but Clinton rebuffed them, saying his administration was focusing on dismantling al-Qaeda cells.” Clinton’s laser vision didn’t do a very good job.


Phony Historians Put Troops Life in Danger:

We also see what amounts to a criticism of the historians, whose inflammatory remarks while our troops were fighting to secure Baghdad, put the lives of our troops in greater danger. They tried to say that GW, Rumsfeld, Cheney, the army, etc, put saving the Oil Ministry ahead of saving the antiques in the Baghdad Museum. Again trying to suggest that GW’s, Cheney etc were more interested in their oil friends than humanitarian efforts.

Most responsible historians, however, knew better and the article confirms the military’s decisions were right. You see you need oil to run generators, electricity, etc. all of which are necessary to keep:

“….. the flow of food, provision of clean water, implementation of basic sanitary measures, availability of health care, provision of a reliable electricity supply to cities and towns that were electrified prior to the war, and physical security are all at unacceptable levels.”

The original infrastructure was already very poor so getting oil into production as soon as possible was absolutely necessary to save lives.


Thanks for the two articles. They clearly show that GW and those who serve him are doing an outstanding job of leadership. Now that GW has restored confidence in the American people and investors, the country is benefiting from the “wealth effect”. Now with the tax cut he has put into place the 1-2 punch to get us out of the Clinton recession.


NYGuy - 6/20/2003

James,

As you probably noticed every one who claims Bush lied used qualifies, i.e "If", "appears", "Someone believes", etc. Nothing to prove their reason for going into a transition to blame Bush. The Democratic Candidate, Edwards, was asked if he believes Bush lied and he answered no.

Many on this board are part of a bankrupt political philosophy and a group of people who provide no leadership, have nothing to say and have to create some type of smoke screen to continue as a political party. Where is, "I have some concerns" Daschle and the champion of women, "Polusi". Heard she is hiding in some little hole as her introduction to a leadership role was a disaster.

GW has been hailed as a world leader, a man of integrity and a decent human being. These are hard value characteristics for some people to deal with, and who claim that the lack of integrity and decency of Clinton was the type of values they support over GW's leadership.


NYGuy - 6/20/2003

Jerry,

Good try, but no cigar.

"One difference between Bush and Nixon/Clinton is that they lied after being caught. Georgie lied in advance (assuming he did lie)."

At least you said you did not know if GW lied unlike the other hacks on this board who can't prove GW lied but try to make it look like he did.

Since you don't know if GW lied, and your assumption is only an opinion, I must put you in the category of those who attempt to draw conclusions without knowing what they are talking about. I was also surprised to see you going along with a meaningless statement by Kathie. Usually you are better prepared.

But, then again, if one has nothing to say or add, they have to make it up. Makes you sound like the Democrat candidates, no program, no new ideas, no leadership.




Jerry West - 6/20/2003

-
It has been a very long time, but I read a book once titled BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY which I believe claimed that there were a few convenient deaths after Watergate that may have been because of Watergate. Who knows? :)

One difference between Bush and Nixon/Clinton is that they lied after being caught. Georgie lied in advance (assuming he did lie).


Kathie Courtney - 6/19/2003

Yes it's worse than Watergate! As far as I know, no one died because of Watergate!


James Thornton - 6/19/2003

Sites that intelligence had estimated were WMD affiliated. I suspect they didn't anticpate having to check every Ali or Akbar's garage, either.


Jerry West - 6/19/2003

-
Here are a couple more articles on this topic:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EF04Ak01.html

http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2003/0306ethics.html


Loki - 6/19/2003

How do you like it?

Simple logic. If there are no weapons to be found, then Bush had no evidence to warrant his move on Iraq. No weapons=no means of a possible strike. He went in anyway. By doing so, he declared himself above the law and circumvented due process.

It boils down to one thing.

Bush=Liar


Hepatitus - 6/19/2003


Josh Greenland - 6/19/2003

And if we can't find a CIA guy to blow the whistle, how about a US Senator?

CIA deliberately misled UN arms inspectors, says senator
By Rupert Cornwell, in Washington
18 June 2003

The row over Iraq's missing weapons intensified in Washington yesterday as a leading Senate Democrat accused the CIA of deliberately misleading United Nations inspectors to help clear the decks for an invasion of Iraq.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/story.jsp?story=416520


Josh Greenland - 6/19/2003

"If it's worse than Watergate then why isn't there an Ellsberg?"

The CIA has been complaining for weeks about this, and I recall defense intelligence officials also disagreeing with the Bush admin about what's been done with their intell. Who needs a single individual blowing the whistle when you have whole intelligence agencies squabbling with the administration over it?

Which isn't to say there aren't individuals blowing the whistle. Others who've followed this issue more closely may have some better information on this.

"US intelligence is NOT omnipotent like many seem think it is and it will take time to scour "a country the size of California" to find it. Perhaps even years."

I read a story a while back that said the US WDM checkers ran out of sites to check and went home.


James Thornton - 6/18/2003

On being named the most important American in that ridiculous BBC poll. My vote for most important Briton - Benny Hill. Sorry Winston Churchill, since you are half American you are disqualified.


James Thornton - 6/18/2003



I do not have any proof that the Administration lied or put a spin on intel nor would I ever make such an accusation. I am suggesting that I may have used a different strategy in justifying a war I wholeheartedly supported. I was also shocked and dismayed that WMD was not found immediately, but I still have faith that WMD or remnants of the stockpile will be discovered.

Here are some possibilities regarding the current situation:

1. Saddam was orchestrating one of history's most elaborate and extensive deception programs and hasn't had a WMD program since 1991. He only wanted the US, his neighbors, and the people under his boot to think so as a deterrent. I find this extremely improbable because maintaining power was what Saddam was all about and he had to know that President Bush was serious about disarming Iraq. I don't think he would have passed up the opportunity to publicly humiliate the President by allowing the inspectors immediate unfettered access to sensitive sites and would have provided documentation of the destruction of his stockpile. To do so after losing power and at the risk of losing his own life just doesn't make sense.

2. While diplomacy and the UN machinations played out, Iraq hid their WMD. I find this scenario the most plausible. Those that actually did the hiding may have been executed to forestall discovery or those involved are extremely loyal to the former regime. US intelligence is NOT omnipotent like many seem think it is and it will take time to scour "a country the size of California" to find it. Perhaps even years. Again, I emphasize that Intelligence is both an art and a science is almost never exact. Signals Intelligence and Human Intelligence are subject to deceit and deception. Imagery Intelligence, unless it is Real Time, is subject to time and what was photographed a few hours ago could move. It isn't often when you get "multiple sources indicating" the total picture. More often you get flashes and bits of information and ultimately a very experienced analyst makes a very educated guess based upon the evidence at hand. There is hardly, if ever, "beyond a reasonable doubt" in the world of intelligence.

3. Saddam transferred his WMD to a third party. Some press stories are hinting at this possibility, which was the underlying purpose of the war. This possibility frightens me the most, but I question whether a huge volume could have been shipped out of Iraq unless it was somehow disguised as illicit oil, which Iraq smuggled out through numerous means to numerous destinations. If this were true then the US Government warnings about a catastrophic terror attack against a Western city involving WMD is very likely to come to fruition.

4. The US Government knows the location or fate of Iraq's WMD but for some unknown reason has kept this knowledge secret. I find this doubtful because of the political heat the Administration is currently taking. It would have to be very sensitive information that if released could harm national security.

There could be other explanations, but those four are the first that come to mind quickly. Although no WMD has been found, YET, Congressional inquiries at this point are premature.

Finally, intelligence is not always "iron clad". I would never risk my credibility by presenting a conclusion as fact. Analysis is sometimes nothing more than an educated guess. Here's how I word my analysis:

"The enemy will do this" or "this will happen", or "the WMD is here". Only when 100% sure - very rare in intel briefings or estimates.

"Highly probable". Used for when an action or event is 99-90% likely to occur.

"Probable". Used for when an action or event is 80-89% likely to occur.

"Most Likely". Used for when an action or event is 70 - 79%.

"Likely". Used for when an action or event is 60 -69%.

"Possible". 50-59%.

"Questionable". 40-49%

"Doubtful". 30-39%

"Improbable". 20-29%

"Most improbable". 1-19%

"Impossible". "The enemey will not (or cannot)..." "{Event} will not happen" "Iraq has no WMD" Just as rare as a 100% call.

A good anaylst never allows him or herself to be backed into a corner. I always leave wiggle room so if I am asked to make a call that ultimately does not pan out I can go back and say, "See, I only said it was possible." When something goes wrong on the operational side, Intel has historically been the whipping boy, and that lesson has been repeatedly learned by intelligence professionals.

Perhaps the President should have used more ambiguous words in his speeches. In my humble opinion leaving uneasy doubt in the minds of Americans about Iraq's WMD and propensity for using them would have been as effective as raising alarm. However, President Bush has the ultimate security clearance. Perhaps the fate of Iraq's WMD is known but is not releaseable yet. The people who know where it is could be tipped off, or they are still protecting a valuable source. Recall that Secretary of State Powell was "backed up" by CIA head George Tenet, a holdover from the Clinton Administration. I doubt he could have remained in that post in good conscious knowing full well that the current administration was deceiving the American public or "spinning" intelligence. A scheme that Dean and Krugman is hinting at would implicate not only the President but probably the entire Cabinet; especially the National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and most of the Senior Executive Service and mid-grade Civil Service employed within the Intelligence Community and DoD.

If I were a Democratic Presidential hopeful I would be extremely cautious at accusing the Administration of deceit at the risk of looking very foolish in the event of the discovery of WMD or revelation of it's fate. Anonymous sources cited in open press stories are usually disgruntled people with an ax to grind. I would expect another "Pentagon Papers" style leak by another rendition of Daniel Ellsberg if this were the case.


Homer Simpson - 6/18/2003

Kriz, you keep lying.

This has been explained to you many times. The issue is not that Clinton had an affair. I'll explain this is teeny tiny sentences so that your teeny tiny mind can keep up:

1. Clinton sexually harassed a woman in the workplace
2. Clinton and his wife were among the vanguard of those who told us that sexual harassment is the ultimate crime
3. Judged by his own politics, Clinton should have been convicted as well as impeached

There is, Kriz, no comparison between this and an affair that a man might or might not have had outside the confines of his office.

Kriz, you've got to stop lying.


Homer Simpson - 6/18/2003

For God's sake, Kriz, please do something constructive with your time.

Would anybody have an affair with you?

Could you stop pontificating long enough to have an affair?


Homer Simpson - 6/18/2003

Kriz, Kriz, Kriz.

The sky is not falling.

Why do you enjoy shouting matches with others so?

Something missing in your life?

Nothing to do?

Try watching Simpsons reruns. You'll be a happier guy.


Elia Markell - 6/18/2003

I did not say presidents are jusified in lying. You have made NO case regarding any lying, nor has anyone else here, for the simple reason you do not have the information on which to base such a claim. If Bush actually lied, so also did Blair, but so also did the UN, the French, etc., etc.

I said "exaggerate." Surely you are not so naive as to think we have had ANY presidents who have refused to exaggerate or simplify complex matters in making a case to the public. That includes the Founders, who regularly charged one another with "debauching" the Republic, by the way. I think you (and the many Bush opponents) are making a huge mountain out of a minor molehill on this and the public is well advised to yawn, as it is in fact doing. (By the way, your last sentences on Bush tell me that this is, in fact, what moves you. That is, hatred of Bush of enormous and utterly preposterous dimensions. The so-called "lying" is just the latest manifestation of this "root cause," if you will.

You say you disaagree with me on ends and means. However, you did not really say anything about what I actually said about ends and means.


Elia Markell - 6/18/2003

Exactly my thoughts when contemplating those mass graves outside Baghdad. Too bad you have to go all the way back to MLK to find someone on the left end of the spectrum willing to be consistent.


Corevan - 6/18/2003

Mr. Kriz has actually learned a civil tone, and deserves a civil answer, now we need to work on critical analysis skills.

I assume your question “does the ends justify the means?” means is everything we, and the rest of the world, did leading up to the over through of Iraq justifiable by the actions taken before that over through? The short answer is yes.

Means 1 Treaty) After the war in 1991 Saddam Hussein sign a surrender treaty indicating, in part, that for a cessation of military action against his country and people he would allow inspectors into his country to catalogue and then destroy certain chemical and other kinds of weapons. Since, as a member of the civilized world community, Hussein proved he was not to be trusted with such weapons economic sanctions were imposed on his country, preventing him from using his natural resource, oil, to its most profitable extent.

Means 2 Placation) During the 12 years the UN was responsible for enforcing its resolutions it let Saddam dictate the rule of the game, including letting Iraq dismiss the inspectors without fully completing their responsibilities to the UN based on those resolutions. With inspectors in Iraq Saddam persisted in dodging hiding from and deceiving these inspectors to prevent them from fully classifying his contraband. In order to put international pressure on the UN and US he hoarded the money he had and deliberately denied his people basic medical necessities and staving them. With this money he continued to play cat and mouse with inspectors and build himself and his sons palace after palace (we will leave the WMD programs out of this discussion, weather he had them or not does not matter he spent his money on deceit and not on food for his people).

Means 3 Verbal Warnings) This is the Final Last, No Really, Final Last Line in the Sand that was drawn. The United States uses the UN Security Counsel, and other diplomatic means, to put significant pressure on the Iraqi government to either disclose what it is doing or to comply with the UN resolution, or be forced to comply.

Ends) The most recent and brilliant military success in modern military history.

Do the ends justify the means, I think so. The question we should all be asking is did the means allow enough time for Saddam to employ the Arab adage, “The Enemy of My Enemy is My friend” with the likes of Al Queda and other Militant Islamic groups. Did Iraq build reluctant relations with them, or with its neighbors Iran and Syria, to move most of his arsenal, what ever it consisted of, out of harms way in order to be deployed and used at a later date.


Stephen Kriz - 6/18/2003


Mr. Markell:

Thanks for being civil. Philosophers from Aristotle down through Kant and Schopenhauer have grappled with the ends vs. means question - I doubt anyone is worried your treatise is going to upend theirs. In terms of American governance, I have to heartily disagree. You are essentially saying that American presidents are justified in lying to the American people, if they think they know better than them about the evil nature of a foreign dictator. I don't think so. Our Founding Fathers would be appalled, in my estimation. Presidents are not imperial and America is not an empire (at least not yet in name). Presidents are answerable to the people. That is what galls me so much about this Administration. If Bush were just a simple-minded buffoon from Texas, with cowshit on his boots, I would dislike him some. But on top of being that, he is arrogant, secretive and thinks he and his cronies should not have to answer to the American people. He is wrong, dead wrong and history will prove him to be very, very wrong.

Peace,

Stephen Kriz


NYGuy - 6/18/2003

Dean doesn’t think he lied, why do you.

What did Dean really say? Seems he is not sure of what has happened but is playing to his base and goes along with the Watergate comparison to get them excited. And he succeeded; they all came out of the woodwork. But these are the same people who thought Clinton was great.

Dean: “Now it is clear that many of his statements appear to be false.”
You mean you have not made up your mind yet and something is clear but only appears. Huh. .

Dean: “And it is too early, of course, to draw conclusions. But it is not too early to explore the relevant issues.”
So this is not a factual report but another rant against GW based upon your ability to make up scenarios.

Dean: “So what are we now to conclude “if” Bush's statements are found, indeed, to be as grossly inaccurate as they currently appear to have been?”
And what do you conclude “if” Bush’s statements are found to be true. Then it would be great leadership, not Watergate. Not much help from Dean here.

Dean: “ The absence of any explanation for the gap between the statements and reality only increases the sense that the president's misstatements “may actually” have been intentional lies.”
Again, you have not concluded anything, except emotionally, not intellectually, and think the President’s, (do you mean statements or did you editorialize with misstatements) “may actually” (not very sure of your own analysis are you)

Dean: “Even now, “while the jury is still out” as to whether intentional misconduct occurred,”
I thought you were telling us that the game is over for GW and he made misstatements that put him in the class of Watergate.


Dean: “To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be "a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause.”
Again the use of the word “if”, showing you have not proved your case. If pigs had wings they could fly.

Dean: “Nixon claimed that his misuses of the federal agencies for his political purposes were in the interest of national security. The same kind of thinking might lead a president to manipulate and misuse national security agencies or their intelligence to create a phony reason to lead the nation into a politically desirable war. “Let us hope that is not the case.”
A further admission you don’t know and are not really accusing the President of wrong doing, only creating the impression through a cleverly worded article.

Dean: “Krugman is right to suggest a possible comparison to Watergate.”
Even though you are not convinced the President did anything wrong, you agree with someone who equates the President with Watergate. A low trick, but then again you worked for Clinton.


ian august - 6/18/2003

right on steve , i think martin luther king jr said " injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere"


Hepatitus - 6/18/2003

There are some other misspellings in there too. Doesn't seem to have much inpact on the main point, but take what you can get!


John Kipper - 6/17/2003

Mr. Markell, why do you even try to reason with a man that doesn't know the difference between the countries of Niger and Nigeria? Or maybe Hepatitus is suffering from poor intelligence, in both senses of that word?


Close - 6/17/2003

Yes! Several times. He will get away with it to.


Elia Markell - 6/17/2003

Those with the ends/means issue on their minds might try to explain to me why it was ok for FDR and Churchill to ally themselves with the world's numerically number-one mass killer against the world's most monstrous mass killer. Or do we really accept the nonesense about that being the "good" war from which grace the U.S. has forever fallen. Spare me.


Elia Markell - 6/17/2003

OK, look, I will TRY to take this seriously. Regarding your question. I assume you mean the one about whether the ends justify the means. This question has become a cliche. A simple "no" (the required answer) is also a cliche, uttered by those who cannot contemplate facing a moral dilemma. Hence, I will give you a non-cliched answer as best I can.

Obviously, ends and means do bear some relation to one another. Here's my rule of thumb: If the end is worthy, and IF the means is effective in attaining that end, and IF no other ends of equal value are placed in jeopardy by a particular means, THEN I say the end justifies that means.

In the current case, the "means" we are talking about is spinning imperfect but largely accepted intelligence to exaggerate a sense of certainty about Saddam's WMD programs and their danger. Some, but only a very small portion, of that intelligence may have been absolutely inaccurate. Most of it was correct and known to all. Most of the rest of it, if it was wrong at all, was simply exaggerated , I believe, on the SIDE OF CAUTION. I put that in caps, because I've noticed that historians especially have a hard time adopting the perspective of those taking part in past events, which perspective is that the events are NOT YET PAST, and are therefore necessarily ambiguous.

Given that, and faced with a monumentally brutal and unstable dictator, one who had already demonstrated perfect willingness to slaughter thousands with WMD, my view is the U.S. president would have been derlict in his duty NOT to err on the side of caution and accept worst-case scenarios as his guiding principle in how best to respond to Saddam. (And I have absolute faith, by the way, that if some of Saddam's WMD even yet wind up in al Qaeda's hands and then onto one of our subways, most of those wringing their hands about the lack of proof of it now, will then be calling for W's head on a platter for such a collosal failure of intelligence as that would be. Fickle, fickle.)

In any case, to conclude, given the end under consideration here (eliminating Saddam's evil), I judge the means (a bit of overhype on the WMD danger) to be absolutely justified, especially given the epistemological matter I raise of uncertainty. I see no other ends anywhere near as important that this exaggrarion endangered. Hence, in this case, this end justified that means.


Hepatitus - 6/17/2003

Or beter yet, tell that to their parents. American soldiers and Iraqi civilians died to stop a threat which wasn't there, which was based on deliberate deceptions, sloppy work, and politicization of the intelligence service. I'm glad you're ok with it though


Herodotus - 6/17/2003

The basics of your question are fundamentally flawed.


Stephen Kriz - 6/17/2003


Neither Mr. Markell nor the mock Greek historian are able to offer up any meaningful rebuttal to my question, so there is really no point in continuing this dialogue. I am saddened that some Americans, including our president, have gotten so base and detached from the underpinnings of our founding principles that they now believe that the ends justify the means in foreign policy matters. We truly have lost our way.....


Herodotus - 6/17/2003

More bleatings from the irrelevant goat:

"And you sir, have done nothing to refute the assertion that Saddam had no significant WMDs following the first Gulf War, and could have easily been contained by on-going UN inspections and maintenance of the "no-fly" zones."

(1) Saddam had significant WMD following the first Gulf War. This was not a fact in dispute, and formed the basis for the weapons inspection regime in the subsequent years.

(2) How could UN weapons inspectors and no-fly zones have prevented the Ba'athist regime from smuggling any amount of WMD across the border to Syria or Jordan...with whom i maintained a significant smuggling operation. One phial of smallpox, one small crate of anthrax in the back of a truck convoy, shipped off to al Qaeda in Afghanistan...I take it that you don't know what you're talking about.

Keep bleating.


Herodotus - 6/17/2003

Mr. Kriz,


From your irrelevance, you sputter:

"On a related matter (although they really aren't related), Clinton may well have believed Saddam had WMDs, but I don't recall that he launched a preemptive war and got 150 brave soldiers (and still counting) killed in the process."


Operation Desert Fox.


Elia Markell - 6/17/2003

The Founding Fathers spinning, all because of me! Golly (as Hillary might put it), I am flattered.

And what are those figures, 5,000, 500,000, 5 million supposed to be about. The only children being slaughtered were those being slaughtered by Saddam before March 19. No the ends do not justify the means. For example, the ends of keeping your hands unsullied do not justify the appeasement that enabled a dictator to defy the world and slaughter his people for ten years, now, do they?


Elia Markell - 6/17/2003

"Did he ever have the weapons? I think not, at least not since the end of the Iran war."

I say again, if you believe this, you are the ONLY one who did, prior to March 19, that is. Not the UN, not the French, not the Russians, not the Germans, all of whose intelligence services agreed he had the weapons, as was also the PREMISE of UN res 1441. Not the left either, which was warning us not to provoke Saddam into using these non-existant WMDs right up to the point where the party line changed to what you indicate here.

I am NOT willing to demand any more proof of a vicious dictator's programs or intentions than what was convincing to all of those, as well as Bush, before our invasion. Whatever happened to Saddam's WMD, the imperfect knowledge available to us was perfect enough for me.


Elia Markell - 6/17/2003

Well, when Bin Laden and Saddam surface, you can ask them how much of a "failure" our actions against them have been. Until then, I say, Hooray.

As for the WMDs, no, I am not sure they are "all gone." I thought it was those I am arguing with here who ARE sure we lied about them existing to begin with. I mean, what exactly IS the argument here. Sure, they are not all gone and I am damn in favor of finding out what happened to them. But as for Saddam, yes, HE and his dead Iraqi regime, HAVE been disarmed. I mean, do you really doubt that?


Hepatitus - 6/17/2003

Sure, i am glad saddam is gone--I already said that. There are a lot of creepy tyrants aournd the world who I would be glad to see gone. If that is the basis for our going to war--to free another country from a tyranical dictator--I would probably support it. It would be a long list, and a lot of work and blood, but it seems like a reasonable justification for having such a huge army

However, Bush's argument was not primarily that Saddam should be removed because he was a cruel oppressor. It is absolutely clear--Bush's main reason for going to war was that Saddam constituted a danger to the US. As Bush put it on March 17, "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraqi regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." His possession of these weapons justified a "pre-emptive strike" to protect Americans.

Now it turns out the weapons did not exist. If they did exist, they were not capable of being mobilized for use--otherwise saddam would have used them, and we would have found them. There is and was no link to Al-Queda. So Saddam, contrary to Bush's statement, did NOT constitute a threat to the US. It is abundantly clear.

Did he ever have the weapons? I think not, at least not since the end of the Iran war. Saddam's rule was by fear, intimidation, and bluster. It was a broken state, in absurd disorder. Lots of people belived he did, although the regime claimed it didn't in sort of coy ways. He gained some leverage by making peopl think he did, but it was a false claim, as false as "bagdhad Bob" claiming there were no Americans at the airport

So again, it is absolutely clear that "peaceniks" were right--containment and inspections would have neutralized the threat," because there was no threat. It was a figment or a fabrication that cost thousands of lives.

If you want to argue that our policy should be to go to war to remove cruel dictators we dislike, fine--that's not what Bush did. He manipulated and distorted intlligence to make the case that there was a threat. He knowingly used false information, and he continues to do so, as when he claimed the two trailers were WMDs.


Deckard - 6/17/2003

Elia baby, you are floating in the clouds.

You say, "DISARMAMENT was the objective. Objective achieved. Hooray."

DISAPPEARANCE was achieved, not DISARMAMENT. People are getting a little sick and tired of victory being declared willy-nilly.

Objective Afghanistan: to kill Bin Laden
Objective Achieved... we just can't find him, but we're sure he's dead.

Objective Iraq: to disarm Saddam
Objective Achieved... we just can't find him or his weapons, but somehow you're sure they're all gone.

Objective Roadmap: to create peace in the Middle East
Objective Achieved... 61 dead and rising.

You may have a high tolerance for failure, but I don't. People should be held accountable for failures.


Stephen Kriz - 6/17/2003


Mr. Markell:

And you sir, have done nothing to refute the assertion that Saddam had no significant WMDs following the first Gulf War, and could have easily been contained by on-going UN inspections and maintenance of the "no-fly" zones. Instead, you simply wag a highly specious argument at us - namely, that because we dethroned Saddam, any reason for taking America to war was justified. Our Founding Fathers must be spinning furiously in their graves at such muddle-headed thinking. So now in any American foreign policy matter, the end justifies the means? Is that what you are saying?

So if we slaughter 5,000 innocent children to get rid of a bad dictator, then that's just O.K.? How about 500,000? How about 5 million? Sir, that way lies tyranny and anarchy. That is wrong thinking, my friend. You are wrong and George W. Bush is a filthy liar, a horrible president and also dead wrong.

Steve Kriz


Elia Markell - 6/17/2003

Oh, one more thing, Hep.

Loud and dumb as I may be, you still did not respond to a single point in my original post. If it's so simple-minded, I would have thought you might have had something substantive to say in clearing the air.

For instance, do you really want to tell us Saddam did NOT have a WMD program before 1998? Do you really want to try to explain why he might have destroyed it AFTER the inspectors left, but not when they were still snooping around? And do you want further to explain why he did not prove that he had done this to the new Blixified inspectors when they returned -- and while he still had a nation and a life to lead? Do you really, finally, want to explain how, if it is up to the world to "conclusively prove" the existence of Saddam's WMD, not up to Saddam to conclusively prove its non-existence, you have not weighted all of history on the side of the totalitarians -- who, after all, can conclusively prove anything they want to? I mean how about some ANSWERS?

Until I hear something about all this, I will continue to believe the democracies of the West have a duty to act on "reasonable doubt" about the word of dictators and in are, in fact, duty-bound NOT to wait until "conclusive proof" appears. Because when it does appear, it will be in the form of the events of 9-11, not a UN report.


Elia Markell - 6/17/2003

Hep: You say,

"Those of us who were against the war argued that the case for WMDs was not conclusively proven (we were right!) and that we should allow more time for inspections, even militarized inspections, rather than plunging into war"

And I again ask you, LOUDLY, if not convincingly, are you in fact SAD that Saddam is not still killing children and dumping them in graves with their dolls? I see no other possible conclusion.

The administration consistently based its case for war on three interlinked things, not one: Saddam's WMD (a program he incontrovertibly had), his ties to terrorists (also incontrovertible) and his brutality and instability (see last paragraph). I myself always felt the fact that Saddam was in complete and defiant non-compliance with the cease-fire he signed in 1991 and every UN resolution thereafter was all the justification for war needed. It was only the enormous pressure to return to the feckless UN one more time that put WMD alone at the top of the list. There was no moral need to make that case there, it was purely political. Or do you suggest the French and Russian's, with their oil contracts up the wazoo and their poltiically advantageous anti-Americanism were resisting us on moral grounds? Don't make me laugh. Hence, whatever it took to get to March 19 was ok with me. And I believe with 80% of the American people, who view the UN charade more as I do than they have been given credit for.

The fact is that one of the worst fascist dicatorships of the age is GONE. This is something to celebrate. We should have done the same thing in Rwanda a few years back, even though the only WMDs there were machetes. This time, we got it right. And the anti-war crowd is STILL pining for the days of Saddamite totalitarianism and Western impotence. A long way down hill from the days of the American Lincoln Battalion, that's all I can say.


Elia Markell - 6/17/2003

Hep: You say,

"Those of us who were against the war argued that the case for WMDs was not conclusively proven (we were right!) and that we should allow more time for inspections, even militarized inspections, rather than plunging into war"

And I again ask you, LOUDLY, if not convincingly, are you in fact SAD that Saddam is not still killing children and dumping them in graves with their dolls? I see no other possible conclusion.

The administration consistently based its case for war on three interlinked things, not one: Saddam's WMD (a program he incontrovertibly had), his ties to terrorists (also incontrovertible) and his brutality and instability (see last paragraph). I myself always felt the fact that Saddam was in complete and defiant non-compliance with the cease-fire he signed in 1991 and every UN resolution thereafter was all the justification for war needed. It was only the enormous pressure to return to the feckless UN one more time that put WMD alone at the top of the list. There was no moral need to make that case there, it was purely political. Or do you suggest the French and Russian's, with their oil contracts up the wazoo and their poltiically advantageous anti-Americanism were resisting us on moral grounds? Don't make me laugh. Hence, whatever it took to get to March 19 was ok with me. And I believe with 80% of the American people, who view the UN charade more as I do than they have been given credit for.

The fact is that one of the worst fascist dicatorships of the age is GONE. This is something to celebrate. We should have done the same thing in Rwanda a few years back, even though the only WMDs there were machetes. This time, we got it right. And the anti-war crowd is STILL pining for the days of Saddamite totalitarianism and Western impotence. A long way down hill from the days of the American Lincoln Battalion, that's all I can say.


Hepatitus - 6/17/2003

Saddam is out of power--good
There appear to have been no WMDs--good

The point is that the Bush admin lied to the public--it justified a pre-emptive strike on the basis of a genuine threa to the US. To date, no credible evidence of such a threat has appeared. Much of the Administration's evidnce has ben show to be either sketchy or false. for example, the forged Nigerian uranium documents. Does it mean nothing to you that the sole evidence of this allegeded nuclear program was a single forged document? If there was more evidence, WHERE IS IT?. Similarly, the two trailers which Bush claimed were for production of WMDs--take a look at this link from the Observer: http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,977853,00.html. Or here's an excerpt.:

"Iraqi mobile labs nothing to do with germ warfare, report finds
Peter Beaumont, Antony Barnett and Gaby Hinsliff
Sunday June 15, 2003
The Observer

An official British investigation into two trailers found in northern Iraq has concluded they are not mobile germ warfare labs, as was claimed by Tony Blair and President George Bush, but were for the production of hydrogen to fill artillery balloons, as the Iraqis have continued to insist.

The conclusion by biological weapons experts working for the British Government is an embarrassment for the Prime Minister, who has claimed that the discovery of the labs proved that Iraq retained weapons of mass destruction and justified the case for going to war against Saddam Hussein.

Instead, a British scientist and biological weapons expert, who has examined the trailers in Iraq, told The Observer last week: 'They are not mobile germ warfare laboratories. You could not use them for making biological weapons. They do not even look like them. They are exactly what the Iraqis said they were - facilities for the production of hydrogen gas to fill balloons.'


Now maybe this means nothing to you--maybe in your view it is fine if the government deliberately spreads misinformation, putting American soldiers lives at risk, getting Americans killed, in order to advance its agenda. The government might, for example, use forged documents to prove that isreal was a threat to the US, and justify, say, a cut in foreign aid to isreal, and tose of us who find israel's actions troublin would be pplease, and that would be fine, according to your logic. How would you like that, Elia? would that be ok?

Those of us who were against the war argued that the case for WMDs was not conclusively proven (we were right!) and that we should allow more time for inspections, even militarized inspections, rather than plunging into war. We did not "achieve" disarmament, becasue it turns out, there never were the WMDs. Saddam apparently claimed he had them, in order to bolster his power. Inspections could have reveled this--hey, they DID reveal it. We just didn't listen

This war was ill-concieved, based on duplicity and willfull misrepresentation. If Saddam is dead, great. he was aa creep. But Bush's actions are grounds for impeachment


Elia Markell - 6/17/2003

Kriz certainly gives us the goods on Poppy. I actually read the article he links to. Defy anyone to find one verifiable fact in it. "Anonymous sources," "whispers about dalliances," "a lot of gossip," "no evidence to substantiate it." Wend your way through that verbiage, if you care to, and see what you can find.

In any case, who cares?

What is absolutely classic and delightful, however, is this quintessence of Salem-1692 from Mr.Kriz:

"The reason you have not 'heard [sic] any credible evidence' of Poppy's cheating is exactly my point."

The Queen of Hearts could not have said it better.


Elia Markell - 6/17/2003


Absolutely nothing, NOTHING, in this article indicates Bush lied about WMD in any way at all. The best Mr. Dean can do after all his huffing and puffing is this ...

"After all, no WMD have been found, and given Bush's statements, they should not have been very hard to find -- for they existed in large quantities, "thousands of tons" of chemical weapons alone."

Gee. What a scandal!

First, as for the thousands of tons, it's interesting that, isn't it. That measure did NOT come from George W. Bush. It came from UNSCOM. And Bill Clinton was far more specific on the amounts and types in 1998, when like W he was prepared to go to war because of them.

Here's the problem with the gotcha breathlessness of Mr. Dean and all his pathetic clones. Nowhere does Mr. Dean offer a plausible explanation of why Saddam, having this stuff -- according to both the UN and the US and everyone else, absolutely unequivocally -- while inspections were going on, should then have destroyed it, once the inspectors were out, post-1998. And even more absurd, that he should have destroyed it yet not allowed any independent verification of that fact, at a loss in a hundred billion dollars in oil revenue and ultimately his regime (if not his life). In any case, hiding "thousands of tons" of what is largely dual use material anyway is not that hard, Mr. Dean.

The left, having made a fool of itself on every other point regarding the war, is now in the process of making the mother of all fools of itself over this. Most Americans think in terms of actual consequences, not intentions -- unlike the left itself. Hence their shrugging disdain about all this is as if to say, "so, you think it would be better if Saddam were still burying babies with their dolls?" (I know the left's real answer to this, but doubt we will every hear it spoken in public -- talking about lies).

What we know about the WMD issue is this: Sometime between 1998 and now, Saddam had WMD and every nation and every national intelligence service on earth was ABSOLUTELY sure of this. Now he does NOT have WMD. Only those besotted by hatred for W see this as a sign of the failure, rather than of the smashing success, of our policy. Some combination of sanctions (which the left hated), inspections (which the left opposed until Sept 2002, when the alternative to them became Iraqi liberation), the credible build up of forces in the six months leading to war, or the war itself, resulted in Saddam's DISARMAMENT -- the ostensible objective of all the supposedly peace loving people of the earth, until it actually happened, that is. DISARMAMENT was the objective. Objective achieved. Hooray.


Stephen Kriz - 6/17/2003


Mr. Guiscard:

The reason you have not "heard [sic] any credible evidence" of Poppy's cheating is exactly my point - Democrats get smeared by the conservative-controlled media, while Republicans get away with murder - literally.

Here is a link for you to contemplate:

http://www.cjr.org/year/92/6/jennifer.asp

Bush's affair with Fitzgerald was well-known in Washington for years. She was an aide to Bush, a "distinctly unequal position", as you put it. He even took her to China with him (possibly to work on the Kama Sutra?) when Bush served as envoy to China in the 1970's. Bar stayed home with thier miscreant sons. As far as a CEO getting fired for dalliances with women many years their junior, ask Jack Welch, GE's former CEO, how badly his affair with a younger woman damaged his career. Not a bit, as I read it. That hardly excuses Clinton. I, for one, do not cheat on my wife nor do I admire men who do. But, don't kid yourself that Clinton would have been punished more, had he been a chief executive in the private sector. I highly doubt it.

On a related matter (although they really aren't related), Clinton may well have believed Saddam had WMDs, but I don't recall that he launched a preemptive war and got 150 brave soldiers (and still counting) killed in the process. Did I miss something? This a-hole Bush, has made a mockery of the Constitution and richly deserves impeachment!

Peace is the only answer.

Steve Kriz


Robert Guiscard - 6/17/2003

Stephen,
First I have not heard any credible proof of an Bush affair. Secondly and more importantly, the issues with Clinton' affair was not just extramarital sex. He had an affair with an intern, an disctinctly unequal relationship. IF Clinton had worked at a College or a any major corporation, this affair would have had him fired for cause. Then Clinton compounds his error by lying under oath, which caused him to be disbared from practising law in Arkansas.

On another related topic, the Clinton White House also believed that Iraq had a credible Weapons of Mass Destruction Program. Bush Jr. may have acted on this belief but by no means was the belief unique to him.


Stephen Kriz - 6/16/2003


Mr. Dean is absolutely on target. Bush lied us into the Iraqi war and there are thousands of dead human beings as a result.

However, since there is a double standard for Republicans, nothing will happen to Bush. Just like his father's long-running extramarital affair with Jennifer Fitzgerald was kept secret by the media, while Bill Clinton was villified for having an affair, Bush will get away with serial lying. There is no longer an independent media to hold him accountable. The days of this Republic are numbered. We are watching the beginning of the end of the United States....


Hepatitus - 6/16/2003

Bush may not have know he was lying--he may have actually believed what he was told. I assume at some point this will be his defense, and someone in the administration will be made to take the fall so e that Bush can run for anotehr term. But the point is, the Bush adninistration systimatically and deliberately oversold the threat. It wanged a preamptive strike against a country that appears to have had no power to strike the US. Zealots in the administration either cooked the intelligence findings or ignored contrary information. They put American lives at risk on the basis of false, misleading and incomplete information. If that's not a scandal, I don't know what is.


Herodotus - 6/16/2003

Dean says:
"Even before formally declaring war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the president had dispatched American military special forces into Iraq to search for WMD, which he knew would provide the primary justification for Operation Freedom. None were found."

Except...the United States did not "formally declare war" against Iraq. Congress did not pass a declaration of war; it passed a resolution allowing the President to use force. There is a tremendous difference between the two. I suspect Mr. Dean, as a lawyer, was simply careless rather than being deliberate. His argument is thorough, to his credit.

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