Iraq or Sudan Redux
Forgive me for breaking decency and protocol, but the release of the Senate report on the CIA's massive intelligence screw-up leading up to the Gulf War only reinforces my blog from yesterday about Sudan and Iraq. The point, I think, is best summarized in a quote from Jay Rockefeller in the above linked story in which he basically says the CIA made up the evidence for the weapons of mass destruction. Knowing that, and knowing what we knew and still know about the link between Bin Laden and Sudan, how can the Bush administration look at itself in the mirror and sleep at night?
Saddam must now be correctly categorized as certainly not even in the top 5 most dangerous world leaders at the time of the invasion. Of the top three we know that Iran is far closer to nukes; North Korea has them; Sudan trains terrorists and ethnically cleanses non-Arabs. But Saddam was obviously not as dangerous as Assad in Syria or even Chavez in Venezuela, who could seriously disrupt the U.S. economy and fully install a Cuban style society in a country with major oil reserves the U.S. needs now. This war just keeps looking more and more silly.
Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006
What I'm objecting to is your calling war against Iraq "silly." But all you've done is to point out that there are *other* threats besides Iraq. Yes. But that doesn't begin to show that Iraq was silly. It just offers more comparisons that show that Iraq really was a threat.
SUDAN: Yes, if the factory was in Sudan, there was a case for using force against Sudan. That's why we DID use force against Sudan in 1998--inadequate force, perhaps, but justified force.
If you mean that there's a case that we should now invade Sudan, I have no objection (except for the fact that we have our hands full). There IS a case. But no part of that case contradicts the case for invading Iraq, precisely because the two cases are similar to and connected with each other. Any genuine reason for invading Sudan would function as a reason for invading Iraq.
Finally, the fact that bin Laden was in Sudan years ago is not a particularly good reason for invading Sudan. If the evidence doesn't indicate a connection between Iraq and 9/11, how is evidence of bin Laden's *years old departure* from Sudan going to indicate a connection between Sudan and 9/11?
NORTH KOREA: I would hardly disagree: they have nukes, and they were more dangerous than Iraq. That's precisely why we have NO military options against them. Airstrikes against North Korea might fail and leave us worse off, and an invasion would probably trigger a nuclear strike. I don't think anyone can be blamed for being perplexed about how to handle that situation. It makes Iraq look easy.
The fact that we had no agents in Iraq is precisely the reason why we had to forcibly disarm Iraq. We would not have discovered a fraction of what we now know had we not invaded to country to force their compliance with UN Res 1441. We would have been confined to "guesswork" for the next six years. Since Iraq and N Korea were playing footsie with each other (and were deterred only because our troops made it "too hot" to consummate the deal), to have left Iraq alone would have been to court TWO North Koreas, one in the Far East, one in the Middle East.
(Incidentally, for all the nonsense I have heard about intelligence failures in Iraq, I would like one person to explain to me in operational detail how they would have inserted agents into the Iraqi military-industrial establishment--with any hope of getting them back out in human form. Talk is cheap on this subject--and so are Senate reports. It's not clear you could have inserted an agent into the *country* unnoticed, much less into sensitive facilities.)
SYRIA: Yes, there are long-standing ties between Syria and Hezbullah (which kills Israelis). But there were long-standing ties between Iraq and Hamas (which kills Israelis). So what's the difference?
If you're granting that an unknown makes something a threat, just look up the UNMOVIC reports between Dec 2002 and March 2003. There you'll find UNMOVIC saying that despite the number of inspectors crawling around Iraq, there was no way to eliminate the unknowns regarding Iraq's WMD programs. So if Syria's being an unknown made it a threat, the same was true of Iraq--and we've now learned that Syria and Iraq were partial allies, which only strengthens the case against Iraq.
Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006
All right, let me get this straight:
1) Sudan is a threat to us, but Iraq wasn't. What about the fact that according to as-yet unrebutted claims by the CIA and NSC, Iraqi EMPTA (a VX precursor) had found its way into a Sudanese factory owned in part by Osama bin Laden?
2) I think you mean North Korea, not South Korea poses a nuclear threat. So North Korea was a threat, you're saying, but not Iraq. Any comment on Iraq's military deal-making with North Korea?
3) Syria is more dangerous than Iraq because....?
John Joseph McCarthy - 7/9/2004
John Joseph McCarthy - 7/9/2004
The Intelligence Community strikes again! What a surprise? No justification for a preemptive strike in Iraq? If that is the unclassified news, what is still classified?
The Senate Select Committee writes that there is no credible evidence of WMD or a link to al Qaeda and Iraq.
Chaney must be having night sweats.
No where in the report is there a mention of treason, treachery or espionage creating an atmosphere for a preemptive attack on Iraq.
The puppets keep saying "The world is better off without Saddam." Show us the proof!
How many lives and how many billions of dollars later (with many years to go)will justify this unilateral aggressive war? What is the profit margin for Halliburton, Bechtel and Brown and Root?
What will we be told AFTER the election? Whose point of view and interpretation will we be fed?
Can anyone spell treason?
There is a definite pattern of abuse within the Intelligence Community which Congress, DOD, DOJ, CIA and State Department AND THE MEDIA choose to ignore.
The above URL contains once top secret National Security Council Documents which were declassified by the State Department in 2000, much to the chagrin of the CIA. Now we know why; treason in wartime.
The CIA has recently responded to an FOIA request on material in the above documents by saying the information remains classified. That is a step in the right direction as for the past thirty seven years, CIA has denied any knowledge or responsibility for the material in the documents.
It is time to clean house and erase the pattern of treasonous acts continuously carried out by the Intelligence Community.
The blatant disregard for Presidential Directives issued during National Security Council meetings during wartime resulted in disasters which are felt to this very day.
Can anyone spell "impeach"?
Why is oral sex in the oval office grounds for impeachment and fabricating (demanding) evidence to support a preemptive attack on a sovereign nation NOT?
Who has the moral courage to ask these questions of those we elected?
The Solicitor General successfully argued before the Supremes that GWB should be appointed President and now he has resigned.....
What is wrong with this picture?
Pat Lynch - 7/9/2004
Regarding the VX, I think today's report gives us pause about a lot of intelligence linking Iraq and Bin Laden, but if the factory was in Sudan, than does that not make a strong case to use military force there? And as the report indicates, Bin Laden had stronger ties there. Who was the more dangerous person for the United States? A man who had murdered almost 2,000 American civilians in an attack on U.S. or Saddam? I'd say Bin Laden, and I think the comments by both Rockefeller and Roberts that the Senate would not have approved the war if we'd known the true state of WMD production shows that Bin Laden, with stronger links in Sudan, would be perceived as the more dangerous.
Regarding the Korea misspelling, my mistake. Apologies, and it has been edited.
Regarding Iraq and North Korea, what we know as of today is straight forward - there is no evidence of WMD in Iraq and we had NO agents in Iraq for six years before the war. SIX YEARS! All intelligence about it appears to have been guess work. North Korea's got nukes, has been regularly caught selling weapons and drugs, and needs the money. Even if they are linked, North Korea would have to be counted as far more dangerous than Iraq based on what we know today.
Regarding Syria, there are long standing ties between the Syrians and a long list of terrorist groups. The Syrians have been funding and helping groups that kill Israeli citizens. What's more the country wasn't crawling with UN inspectors last year and posed a bigger unknown than Iraq.
Thanks for the response to my post, which has been lively and timely.
Pat Lynch - 7/9/2004
Whoops, thanks - typed in a hurry.
Jonathan Dresner - 7/9/2004
While I agree entirely with your points, as an Asianist (and incorrigable fact-picker) I have to point out that there is no evidence that South Korea has nuclear weapons, unless you count our own warhead-equipped naval forces.
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