I Was Wondering the Same Thing…

William Triplett writes in Variety today:

Is there something in the right-wing water that’s
causing conservative commentators to cross the boundaries of taste and

Within the past six weeks, Robert Novak swore and stomped
off the CNN set; Tucker Carlson smiled and praised a fatal police
attack on Greenpeace protesters; and Rush Limbaugh trashed a grieving
mother camped outside President Bush’s vacation ranch as a phony. And on Monday, Christian televangelist Pat
Robertson, on "The 700 Club," said the U.S. should assassinate the
president of Venezuela, touching off a firestorm of criticism and

When Pat Robertston starts talking like Tony Soprano, you have to wonder what has happened to the Christian Right…

97 thoughts on “I Was Wondering the Same Thing…”

  1. I agree, but it’s no more shocking than the anti-semitism on the Left. Let’s face it, politics is as broken as the legal system.

  2. They’re just showing their true colors.
    What did Lincoln say? “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
    I hope the days of them being able to fool people (any people) are drawing to a close. I fear that this is not going to happen soon, but I still hope for it. The sooner the better!

  3. Mark York is right. There is no “so called” anti-Semitism on the left. There is nothing so-called about it. It’s real and it’s right there for anyone who cares to see. Just listen to the people who justify terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens while decrying similar attacks in London; the people who interpret every move of George Bush as evidence of a neo-Con (read Zionist)conspiracy; the ceaseless criticism of Israel despite the fact that it is the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, where Arab citizens have more rights than they would in most Arab countries. As a Jew I always thought the worst rhetoric came from the neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists. These days it’s every bit as bad on the left, particularly in academia.

  4. And then there’s Senator Durbin on the left comparing Gitmo to Nazi concentration camps and Soviet Gulags.
    There’s plenty of unwise behavior on both sides of the aisle.
    You’ve got to admit, though… if you were arguing with James “Lizardhead” Carville, you might swear at him, too. 🙂

  5. If Robertson didn’t have such a large audience nobody would pay attention to what he said. What he said–given his large audience–is irresponsible. Chavez seemed to take offense to it, which suggests he thinks Robertson has more real political clout than he does. If the Bush Administration wasn’t so busy kow-towing to the religious right, they might have been better off saying, “Why do we give a shit what Pat Robertson says about U.S. foreign policy?” There are wacky fringeys all over the country that think we should nuke half the countries on the planet when they disagree with us–really, buy gas and consider an overthrow of Saudi!–but it doesn’t mean the government has to take them seriously. Hell, Dave Barry runs for President, too, and although my politics are a lot closer to his than Robertson’s, I wouldn’t take his statements about U.S. foreign policy too seriously either.
    Mark Terry

  6. The difference between Robertson and the whacky guy on the corner yelling that God hates Gays (tho’ Robertson agrees with that) is that Robertson founded the Christian Coalition, a political organization of hundreds of thousands of people who helped Bush to the WH, and Robertson has access to Bush just about whenever he wants – that’s power, power is access. (note that Bush hasn’t yet denounced Robertson). Also, Robertson owns The Christian Broadcast Network, which the PTL show was on, and gets world wide viewership of about 200 million people. This isn’t a fringe religious freak. This is a mainstream religious freak. He has access to power and millions of followers.
    Dave Barry may tell people that we should kill someone, but everyone would giggle and say, “that Dave, always joking” – not so with Pat. People, right or not, look to him for guidance, spiritually and politically, and there’s always the implied threat that if you don’t follow his words, you just may go to hell.
    He has a lot of power, whether we like it or not.

  7. I’m sure all of you consider me part of the religious right. As such, I’d like to say Robertson doesn’t speak for me or very many people I know, and I know lots of us evil RR people.
    As to Rush trashing Cindy…I didn’t hear what he said, so I’ll grant that he might have been over the line. However, when she makes statements that America has been killing people for 200 years and isn’t worth living in, promises to swear at Bush until he tells her her version of the facts (whether they’re right or not, which is a different issue), and starts doing rallies with a convicted terrorist sympothizer, she crossed a line from being a grieving mom and deserves some harsh critizism.
    There are many on the left who are anti-Semetic.
    Translation, there are people on both sides acting irresponsible, racist, and like hypocrites. If you aren’t willing to admit it, you’re as bad as they are.

  8. I consider myself a conservative Democrat. I haven’t noticed any anti-Semitism among the Left, though I’ve certainly noticed it among the radical Right. I don’t think it makes you an anti-Semite to criticize Israel…because I certainly do it and I’m a Jew.

  9. Hey Mark Carstairs38,
    Rush said said Sheehan’s case was no different than Bill Burkett’s (he who supplied the fake docs about Bush’s service and bit Dan Rather in the butt) – he said that Sheehan’s case was nothing but a case of forged documents. That’s what he said. In other words, she’s forged / faked everything (I have the link on my blog on my site, if you want to read the whole thing) about her son dying in Iraq. He said that her son dying was forged documents, that’s what he said on Aug 15th. On August 17th, he said that he didn’t say that, despite the fact the quote was on his page (also on my site) – now I think that’s even worse – he’s lying about what he said two days previously, it’s terrible.
    In terms of Sheehan, I am hardly an expert, but one thing that I have heard from her consistantly (two television interviews and two editorials that she wrote) is that she simply wants to know what her son died for in Iraq. He didn’t die to save us from WMD’s, since there were none (though that’s the reason we voted for war) and he didn’t die to bring freedom to the Iraqi people (who, curiously enough, seem to be resistly that themselves, see letter on from a current Iraq war vet on my blog) and her son didn’t die because Iraq attacked us on Sept 11th (though the president used that as an excuse, and still does, for the war in Iraq) – so what she wants to know, that I’ve heard, is why are we at war with Iraq and why did the President lie about it in the beginning –
    It should be noted that Sheehan is also doing rallies with war veterans, politicians who have also lost children, and many, many others.
    Regardless of what Sheehan is or isn’t saying, it is very small potatoes stacked up to a President lying about going to war, costing us 200 billion dollars and 2000 lives for that war – that’s a big thing and a lot of folks are angry about that, which, not only is their right, it seems crazy not to be angry about it – It seems to me, Sheehan is one just like that, only one who may have lost more than most.
    You are right when you say that there are bad, misguided people on both sides – but the side I’m concerned about now is the one in power, and anyone who isn’t concerned about the side in power, I think, if you aren’t willing to admit it, (I’m using the plural you, not the singular you specifically) you’re as bad as they are, just as you said. Again, not targeting you specifically with that statement, just turning it to the present situation – you probably disagree with many of the same things I do.
    This is all my opinion, of course.

  10. Lee makes an important distinction – criticizing Israel doesn’t make one anti-semite, but lots of folks think it do – and there are many on the left that I’ve known who criticize Isreal, but I don’t think you could make the argument for racial discrimination (which is what anti-sematism is, right?) from socialists and the like who oppose Israels dealings with the Palenstinians –
    Anti-sematism is very prevailent in conservative circles, however, at least that’s what I’ve seen –
    For the record, I’m an progressive independent – some would label me liberal because I don’t hate gays and believe health care and congressional oversight should and could be better, but I’m simply an independent.

  11. There are some Anti-Israel feelings in the Democratic Party. Some of it fueled by the Sharon Government. Some based on Anti-Semitism, which is prevalent on the right as well. Some feel that Israel runs afoul of the law and that is true in many cases. Just like America in certain cases.
    I am a strong supporter but I think it needs to respect the law and observe international law so it can be the “good guy” and still defend it’s country.

  12. Mark, (and Howard) you need to put on your reading glasses. The post I think you’re referring to did not use the words “so-called.” In fact, it clearly acknowledges the anti-semitism.

  13. “I haven’t noticed any anti-Semitism among the Left…”
    Guess you missed the Adbuster’s column where prominent neocons were listed with a star next to the names of those who were Jewish? Or Cindy Sheehan’s comment that her son was killed in a war for Israel?
    As for Pat Robertson, doesn’t he have a right to free speech? Yeah, it’s a complete non-sequitur, but then it’s a complete non-sequitur when liberals raise it to bash anybody who dares criticize Mother Sheehan.

  14. Rush called Sheehan a liar for the stuff about her son’s death? That’s over the line (and the first I’ve heard of it.) She does seem to be telling a different story about her meeting with Bush a year ago June, but I’ve never heard anyone question her son’s death. Rush was out of line and deserves to be bad mouthed for it.
    Of course, when Cindy says she plans to ask the President why her son died and then interrupt him by saying “BS” and calling him a liar until he says it was about oil and making his friends rich, then I can’t give her much respect at all. (I wish I could find the link. I’ll keep working on it if you want.
    Robertson does have free speech. I just wish he wouldn’t use it. And I really, really, really wish others wouldn’t put his words into my mouth. And I must admit I wonder about free speech calling for anyone to be assassignated. That seems to be skating dangerously close to lines that have been established.

  15. Of course Robertson has the right to free speech, I don’t know that anyone is contesting that he can’t say what he likes – but we are just as free to point out whether or not what he said is nuts, makes no sense and is completely and ethically irresponsible, right?
    When someone makes the comment, “He shouldn’t say that” they are NOT saying a person doesn’t have the right to say what they think – usually the implied meaning is that there is a fundalmental flaw in their reasoning or thinking – for example, Robertson is free to say “Drinking gasoline is good for children” he’s free to say that, but it’s not a good thing to say, so folks who criticise and say, “he shouldn’t say that” are really saying, perhaps you should think before you think.

  16. Mark Carstairs –
    That was a very respectful response, and I appreciate it. What I don’t understand from your point of view, and I’m interested to know, is why that you think that calling someone who has lied a liar is so terrible. Because the President has lied, there is documentation to prove it, and shouldn’t that be more upsetting than anything that Cindy Sheehan can think to say?
    I confess, if I had a son and he was killed due to a politician’s lie or negligence, I would be a lot more upset than Cindy Sheehan.
    The President looked us in the eye on television many times and told us that unless we attacked, we would be attacked with WMD. He also stated that Iraq was responsible for the attacks on our soil (and also put it in his letter to congress, march 2003, when asking permission to go to war) – he’s lied about other things, and I realize, politicians bend facts often, but these are BIG lies that cost lives, lies from a man in power –
    Now, if it was not a lie, if it was an intellegence mistake (which the head of the CIA got a medal for) it is still NOT the kind of mistake a leader should make. When committing forces to war, you need to be sure, and you certainly need to send them equipped with the right equipment and intellegence (other examples of negligence that, at the very least, someone should be fired for) –
    Cindy Sheehan has, for better or worse, become a media lightning rod – but I fail to see how anything she can say or do could be worse than what the man she wishes to face has done to our country and our soldiers. She wants to face him because of HIS mistakes and / or lies. It’s the latter thing we should be talking about, not whether or not she deserves her media spot.
    So I get that you’re angry at some of the things she has said. You have that right. But, what I really want to know, is why aren’t you angry at what the President has said and done?

  17. There is a difference between lieing and saying something you believe to be true and later found out was false, right? We had intelligence saying he had the stuff to make WMD. Even Germany, France, and Russia, agreed that he had those items. Clinton has come forward saying he believed he had WMD’s before he left office in 2000. Before we went into Iraq, no one doubted they were there. The debate was over what to do about it. Furthermore, he acted guilty. If he truly had nothing to hide, why didn’t he let the inspectors in?
    I’ll agree, this lack of accurate intelligence is a series problem that should be address. Of course, now that we’re there, this is all an interesting intellectual discussion, but has little to do with where we go from here in Iraq.
    I can’t document it now, but I know I have seen reports that various Al Queda members had met with Saddam and there were training camps in Iraq. I don’t think the entire truth is out on this issue yet.
    Furthermore, we are talking about a war on terror. Saddam supported terror against Israel. I’ve heard no one argue against that. Maybe he’s not the target we would have picked next, but he was still a target we needed to take seriously if we are serious about getting rid of terror.
    So, to some up, we’ve hijacked Lee’s comments with political discussions. President Bush said stuff that wasn’t true, but he and everyone else in the know believed it at the time. The fact that it turned out not to be true doesn’t make him a liar.

  18. Oops, Mark – Germany and France did not agree he had those items, which is why they didn’t go to war with us (remember the Freedom Fries fiasco?) so that’s an important distinction – many folks were saying Iraq did not have WMD’s – many countries did not join us and it’s why the UN did not sanction our action there.
    Bush may have believed he was doing right, but that doesn’t mean he was truthful to us or doing right by us. He lied to us or to himself, one or the other, I could not say.
    Iraq had nothing to do with the terror attack upon on country (according to our own congressional investigation) – therefore to call our action there a part of a war on terror is a clever bit of misdirection – I mean, we didn’t go to Rwanda, did we?
    Now Iraq, among other countries, has issues with Israel, sure – but we didn’t go to war because they attacked Israel – we went to war because we were told we’d been attacked (us, the US) by Iraq on that fateful day and were in dire danger of being attacked by them with WMD’s – there was no solid, bankable intellegence to support that and there still isn’t.
    Don’t forget that Bush’s own anti-terror head testified against him at the Congressional investigation.
    But Mark, you admit that, at the very least, grave mistakes were made by our President, but you don’t really answer why you aren’t as angry about that as you are about a mother upset that she lost her son in the midst of it?
    In case Lee is tiring of the political stuff, I’d be happy to invite you to continue the discussion on my blog or on yours – let me know –

  19. David – LOL, I know, I know – I shouldn’t listen to him, and I don’t that often, but my father is hooked on the man and I’m trying to stage an intervention – Limbaugh has an amazing voice that is able to bring up emotions in his listener without any effort on his part – it’s why he’s so good on radio – it’s just too bad that the thoughts behind what he’s doing are so harmful.
    Besides, in a war of ethics (which our country is really engaged in) it’s good to hear both sides.

  20. You don’t get angry about racism or the like? I’m angry about the turns and choices the government’s made, Mark’s angry at some of the things Cindy Sheehan has said (and Pat Robertson, we’re both angry about that) and we’re trying to understand each other – what’s pompous about that?

  21. I can’t stand either side right now. Both left and right have lost focus on what’s important. The Dems lost a chunk of support before the last election when they got of track and now the Repubs are doing the same. Time for a party that isn’t in it for their own self interest – like that will ever happen.

  22. France and Germany said he didn’t have WMD’s? That’s news to me. Of course, considering they were being bribed by Saddam with Oil for Food money, anything they would say wouldn’t surprise me.
    I remember the Freedom Fries fiasco, as you so rightly called it, as being over the fact everyone agreed that he had the WMD’s but France couldn’t care less about it. Then again, we’re talking about stuff I haven’t looked at for several years now.
    If I tell you the sky is cloudy today and show you pictures that will prove my point then you repeat my story, who is to blame when it turns out the sky is blue. I know, not a perfect example because you can look out the window for yourself. Bush did not lie. He repeated what he was told by people he should have been able to trust. I have yet to see proof that anyone deceived anyone else. After all, if our best intelligence was wrong, then what have we to be angry about? Yes, reform needs to happen. Heck, I’ve heard people who claim that Saddam believed he had the WMD’s we claimed he had. I don’t know that I believe anyone in America lied. Then again, I’m the trusting sort who doesn’t want to believe bad about anyone, even those who disagree with me.
    And I don’t think the real truth about what is happening right now is going to come out for at least another 10 to 20 years. There are too many people who feel they have a personal stake in the outcome. That includes people testifying before Congress, Congress, Bush, and the news media. Heck, there are people claiming that we had info on Atta summer of 2000 and did nothing with it and this info didn’t make it into the 9/11 commission report.
    As to continuing this conversation elsewhere, I don’t see the point. You believe one thing, I believe something else. We’re looking at facts and reading different judgements into people’s actions (Bush’s statements on WMD). This is a pointless exercise in frustration no matter where we do it. And I really should be getting back to work. 🙂

  23. Freedom fries fiasco wasn’t over France not caring about Iraq, it was about them not buying Bush’s statements (which later turned out to be false, and France right). If the fact that France and Germany didn’t believe that Iraq had WMD is news to you now, then I respectfully suggest that we’re not both looking at the facts and believing different things, it’s that one of us is not looking at the facts, again I say that most respectfully. But the facts are out there, all one has to do to verify is google. 😉

  24. Telling each other what we should be angry about is how we fight for social justice. I don’t think it’s pompous, even when I don’t agree.
    WMDs and what Bush knew but didn’t say.

    As far as “crossing the borders of taste and propriety,” it turns out to be very good business. Book sales, TV appearances and speaking gigs come to those who get the most media attention, and media attention doesn’t come from sober, carefully-considered opinions.

  25. And, of course, because I was too lazy to cut and paste Mr. Triplett’s actual words, I got the quote wrong.
    Is there anything sadder than a man too lazy for a cut and paste?

  26. I still say so-called. It’s so-called by those not looking too deep. I agree with Lee’s take and I’ll get het up about illogical interpretions of reality, and those who get others killed trying to correct things in their perception.

  27. You can say that Mark, but the guy is saying you did not read the post correctly, and he’s right–you didn’t. You can’t seem to hear anything even slightly contrary to your personal belief. Why is everyone in such political lock-step? Things are far more complex than that. And, I’m speaking as a liberal, just in case you wondered.

  28. Yes Barry please lecture me on nuance. There may be anti-semites on the left, whatever that is, but the left is not anti-semitic as a whole or anything even close to it. Where are your facts showing that it is? How’s that for lockstepping?
    Listen, any fool could see that Saddam’s WMD were mysteriously not available, yet the “liberal” Swede couldn’t be trusted to keep looking. What BS. As a scientist I kept saying where’s the evidence? So what hasppened? The Army let the sealed wmd from the UNSCOM that they did find and confiscate at Al QaQa go unguarded and the contents were stolen. Now that’s the face of incompetence.
    Give me a break with the relativistic he said she said nonsense. There is only one reality reguardless of what anyone perceives.

  29. In re Bush’s lies.. have you all forgotten the entire Niger and uranium lie? The CIA told him PRIOR to the State of the Union address that this was not a fact. And yet, the lying S.O.B. told us that Hussein was actively seeking the ability to make a nuclear bomb. Which was an outright lie in an effort to convince everyone that HIS war mongering was backed by “facts”. THEN, lest we forget this too, Joe Wilson got involved and told everyone what he DIDN’T discover in his visit to Niger. Then, someone (cough cough Rove cough) in the White House leaked CIA documents to Novak et al, and Bush said that he would fire anyone who was “involved”. Hmmm, makes me wonder why we (the American public) are stilling picking up the tab for Rove’s paycheck. The President lies. It started with his “election” to office and has never stopped.

  30. This has nothing to do with tone. It concerns fatcs and preceptions some of which are false. Hint: its not about me. I simply don’t care what you believe. There is true and untrue.

  31. I don’t think the president is a liar per se. It’s just that he doesn’t know the difference from truth and untruth when he has a conclusion, preordained, that he wants to support. That much is obvious, but continue to sweep facts under the rug, in support of that untruth if true belief drives those so-inclined. It won’t make true though in the real world.

  32. Gotta laugh at Joshua’s claim that the French and German intelligence agencies didn’t believe Saddam was working on WMD. The Germans issued a warning in 2001 that Saddam could have nukes by as early as 2004. Read UN Security Council Resolution 1441 (2002) sometime if you think that Bush made up the WMD claim out of whole cloth. It was passed unanimously by the Security Council, even getting the vote of Syria (and the French).
    As for the sixteen words on yellowcake, you guys just are way behind the times. Joe Wilson’s claim that he found no evidence of that was debunked rather harshly by the Senate Intelligence committee, as reported in the Washington Post.
    “Wilson’s assertions — both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information — were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.
    The panel found that Wilson’s report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson’s assertions and even the government’s previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush’s January 2003 State of the Union address.”
    Sorry to burst your bubble there, guys, but you really should try to keep up with the facts if you’re going to debate in public.

  33. Thank you, Brainster. Sorry to dissappoint the wolfpack but, as I understand it, and I’ve researched this extensively, your information is correct.

  34. Glad you had a laugh, Brainster, but you misquoted me – I said that France and Germany maintained Iraq didn’t HAVE WMD’s and that’s why they would not support an invasion – I said nothing about Saddam trying to acquire them, of course he was trying, but it was useless, the measures of the world bodies had enacted to stop him had essentially blocked that (in Colin Powell’s words, no less, a year before testifying otherwise to the UN, pimping himself and his career out for Bush) . . . we went to war, as I said again and again, because he HAD them and could attack in in 20 minutes.
    If the intellegence was there, what happened to it? Where is it now?
    And you are incorrect sir, about your assertion that the CIA did not warn Bush on those fateful 16 words . . . Tenet did, and blamed himself for later letting those words happen. It’s on record. He was warned.
    I can source it for you and, as far as Wilson, here’s the info and the timelime – http://news.yahoo.com/s/latimests/20050825/ts_latimes/aciacoverblownawhitehouseexposed;_ylt=Atxv3icmrybwcNmxUonUx6Ss0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3ODdxdHBhBHNlYwM5NjQ- of the whole sordid deal. Just on the news wire today.
    Two things, and then I’ll let it go.
    One. They weren’t there, the WMD’s, and that’s WHY we went to war, not because Saddam wanted to get some (I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded having him some WMD’s once we invaded) but because he HAD them and was poised to strike (see Bush’s letter to congress, March 2003). We were told he had them, they didn’t, we were also told he was involved in the attack our country. He wasn’t. Proven by our own congressional investigation.
    Two. If you agree the the above is correct (and it’s all easy to verify) then either one of two things happened. Either the powers that be LIED to us or they made a HUGE mistake.
    I personally believed we were lied to, but you know what? Both are wrong. Either way, it’s still inexcusable behavior for our elected leaders. If you lied to us, you should go to jail. If you made the kind of mistake about WMD”s that they must have (if they didn’t lie, they must have really goofed up) turn in your badge, you are not smart enough to be sheriff.
    I’ve also researched this pretty extensively, as you can see, and I will continue to do so. It may be a bit of a cliche’ to say this, but I live in new york city, and most everyone that lives here takes what happened (the attack and the war) and what didn’t happen (not protecting our country, not paying attention to the PDB’s warning of an attack, not finding WMD’s after promising that they are there and not equipping our troops that are put in harm’s way) very seriously.
    At the very LEAST, he made a mistake he should go to jail for, and anyone who is willing to think about it logically and look at the facts should be able to see it, with all due respect. The truth will out, eventually.
    I may be only a playwright, but I know that much.

  35. Read the articles you link to carefully. Quoting from the LA Times piece:
    “While Tenet expressed skepticism, the national intelligence estimate he ordered up to assess Iraq’s weapons programs before the war seemed to embrace a different view — perhaps because of a mistake in assembling the document.
    “The national intelligence estimate on “Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction,” released in October 2002, was meant to reflect a consensus of the nation’s intelligence-gathering agencies. It included the consensus view that Iraq sought weapons of mass destruction and a description of Britain’s account of the Niger deal.”
    Your claim that “They weren’t there, the WMD’s, and that’s WHY we went to war, not because Saddam wanted to get some (I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded having him some WMD’s once we invaded) but because he HAD them and was poised to strike (see Bush’s letter to congress, March 2003). We were told he had them, they didn’t, we were also told he was involved in the attack our country.” is just further evidence of your inability to comprehend what you read. Here’s what President Bush actually wrote to Congress:
    Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
    Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:
    (1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and
    (2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
    Funny thing, I don’t see anything in there claiming that Saddam had WMD and was poised to strike. Making up facts to suit your argument?
    And about that bit about “we were also told he was involved in the attack our country…”
    Read the part of the second paragraph about “including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” “Including” does not mean “including only”. If I said, “many people are ignorant on this subject, including Joshua”, would you interpret that to mean that I thought only you were ignorant on this subject?

  36. No, I would take it to mean that you were insulting me specifically in addition to a lot of other folks. But I’ll try not to take it personally.
    Hmm, it seems we could really get into a cage match of documents and links going back and forth, but really – you didn’t address my one – two logic step, you’ve basically said Bush never said that Iraq had WMD’s – that’s your position? For real?
    Because, well, because that’s nuts. I myself saw Bush say so on TV.

  37. And I realized, since I’m among the ignorant, perhaps what I witnessed may not count. So let’s see what else I can dig up and post back here. May I note, before I get to work on it, that I haven’t personally insulted you, isn’t it fair to ask the same in return?

  38. And before I dig into it, you may enjoy what Kung Fu Monkey has to say on this matter – http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2005/06/im-all-out-of-reasonable.html
    I don’t know him (I believe Lee’s linked to him on the side) but I look up to him, his kung fu is strong and someday, when I grow up, I want to be just like him.
    Nice website, by the way – do they give you sheets or did you have to bring your own – Interesting that you showed up on this site – I guess someone felt boxed in and called in help.

  39. Heheh:
    “May I note, before I get to work on it, that I haven’t personally insulted you, isn’t it fair to ask the same in return?”
    “Nice website, by the way – do they give you sheets or did you have to bring your own…”

  40. You’re right, the sheets comment was out of line, I apologize. I’m grown up enough to admit it – I must have still been stinging from the “ignorant” slap, which was, in itself, uncalled for.
    Brainster is, by the look of his site, someone that specializes in exactly what he’s doing – putting a right spin on things and he’s obviously very good at that verry thing and probably even a pro at it – it doesn’t make him correct in his conclusions, just very difficult to pin down. And, if I recall, his position is still that Bush never said that Iraq had WMD’s.
    Though I’ve been working on it, political discourse and breakdowns, as a hobby since 2001 – I’ll be the first to admit that I’m still an amateur, (I’m a pro at other things) abeit one trying to be much better at it, all for the above, aforementioned reasons I stated.
    But Brainster’s conclusions are still incorrect. We did go to war because Iraq had WMD’s and they weren’t there. Either a huge mistake or a huge misrepresentation. I saw Bush say it, I say Cheney say it – so if we did NOT go to war because Iraq had WMD, why are so many politician, pundits, citizens and grocers making an issue of the fact that there were no WMDs? How did that happen?
    And David, I never said Kung Fu Monkey was an expert, just that I thought that what he’d written might be interesting to those following this thread and that he is someone that I admire. What’s wrong with that? Check out his site, it’s not quite what you think.

  41. “bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts.” Really who are they? The case for what? That Saddam had WMD of any sort? He didn’t. That’s the conclusion of the committee.
    Does the article cite them? Was Saddam trying to buy yellow cake from Niger? Wilson has not been debunked to my knowledge, but wingers divine their own conclusions from evidence that doesn’t back them up. This sounds like another one of those to me. Divinity at work as usual.

  42. Saddam had nothing to do with 9-11 brainster is it? You’re so incorrect. He came down at a friggin high price too. The bills on your tail now, and unfortunately everyone esle for generations to come. Nice trade for a two bit tribal dictator.
    And Barry good luck with that logic problem.

  43. Yesterday’s (July 2004)report said that whether Iraq sought to buy lightly enriched “yellowcake” uranium from Niger is one of the few bits of prewar intelligence that remains an open question.”
    An open question, to Pat Roberts R-Kansas. This article is a year old Brainiac. As Arnold would say, “Old News.”
    And still an argument from ignorance, according to Schimdt. The documents were forgeries. No yellow cake was purchased or found. Do you like apples? How do you like those apples?

  44. I hardly think it was harsh to call you ignorant *on this subject*, particularly after I looked up things you cited and found they didn’t say what you claimed they said.
    And for your point, no, I am not saying that President Bush never said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. I have pointed out that he did not say it where you said he did.
    But your conclusion that he was a liar because he was wrong is quite simply ridiculous. Was John Kerry lying when he said, “If you don’t believe … Saddam Hussein is a threat with nuclear weapons, then you shouldn’t vote for me.”?
    Some more obvious liars:
    “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 ha s 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 seeki! ng and d eveloping weapons of mass destruction.” – Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002
    “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. Intel ligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…” – Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002
    Or were they simply mistaken?

  45. I think it’s very likely that Bush was simply wrong about Iraq having WMD. Many people were wrong about that. What’s inexcusable isn’t the mistake but the inability to admit the mistake and the inability to hold anyone, including himself, to account for it. I think many people, including me, would feel somewhat differently about the rationale for war if Bush had stood up immediately upon finding out there were no WMDs and said the obvious: if there were no WMDs, there was no imminent threat, and somebody, somewhere, screwed up huge. We’d really better get to the bottom of this so that we never, ever make a mistake this big again. The fact that he hasn’t done so, and in fact is today touring the country trying to drum up support for the war AGAIN, irrelevantly invoking September 11 AGAIN–this is what makes me fairly sure we’re not dealing with someone of scrupulous honesty here.

  46. Brainster, you wrote this “Gotta laugh at Joshua’s claim that the French and German intelligence agencies didn’t believe Saddam was working on WMD” even though I claimed no such thing at any point – I managed to correct you without calling you ignorant.
    I’m rereading the letter again, and will come back to it at some point. But let’s return to the central issue.
    So let’s revise, then. Here’s the cold situation.
    One. They weren’t there, the WMD’s, and that’s WHY we went to war, not because Saddam wanted to get some (I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded having him some WMD’s once we invaded) but because he HAD them and was poised to strike (Bush’s own worlds). We were told he had them, they didn’t, we were also told he was involved in the attack our country. He wasn’t. Proven by our own congressional investigation.
    Two. If you agree the the above is correct (and it’s all easy to verify) then either one of two things happened. Either the powers that be LIED to us or they made a HUGE mistake.
    Note, I’m not saying this by itself proves he lied. I’m simply saying it’s one of the possible explanations, (see below) and the one that I subscribe to. My point is that the fact that WMD’s are not there is either gross negligence or outright dishonesty. See below –
    I personally believed we were lied to, but you know what? Both are wrong. Either way, it’s still inexcusable behavior for our elected leaders. If you lied to us, you should go to jail. If you made the kind of mistake about WMD”s that they must have (if they didn’t lie, they must have really goofed up) turn in your badge, you are not smart enough to be sheriff.
    And sure, do that right wing punditry trick of flicking out leftie bobbles, I don’t care for Kerry myself, I’m not a Democrat, anyway. That’s a trick, a magicians trick, don’t look over there, look over here.
    He said there were there. There were not. Someone should be sacked.

  47. Brainster:
    You wrote:
    “Sorry to burst your bubble there, guys, but you really should try to keep up with the facts if you’re going to debate in public.
    Funny thing, I don’t see anything in there claiming that Saddam had WMD and was poised to strike. Making up facts to suit your argument?
    And about that bit about “we were also told he was involved in the attack our country…”
    Here, in Bush’s own words are his unambiguous statements that Hussein possessed WMDs as well as very cleverly worded inferential attempts to link Hussein, Iraq, and 9/11, which this administration continues to do today, thus perpetuating a completely discredited assertion, which is dishonsety of the worst kind and a fraud upon the public.
    For Immediate Release
    Office of the Press Secretary
    September 12, 2002
    President’s Remarks at the United Nations General Assembly
    Remarks by the President in Address to the United Nations General Assembly
    New York, New York
    “But Saddam Hussein has defied all these efforts and continues to develop weapons of mass destruction.”
    “With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of September the 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors.”
    President Says Saddam Hussein Must Leave Iraq Within 48 Hours
    Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation
    The Cross Hall
    For Immediate Release
    Office of the Press Secretary
    March 17, 2003
    “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves NO DOUBT (emphasis added-PLW) that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”
    “The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other.”

  48. Peter, I confess I don’t quite get your point. I am not saying that Bush never claimed Saddam had WMD. I was saying that the place Joshua told me to look for it didn’t have it. And you’d have a hard time arguing from the quote given that Saddam participated in 9-11. I don’t have any difficulty reading that quote and seeing that’s not implied or stated at all.
    Joshua, your #1 point is wrong when you say “They weren’t there, the WMD’s, and that’s WHY we went to war”. That’s not the sole reason we went to war despite your earnest desire to make it so. Read the authorization that congress passed allowing the war; it lists something like 14 different reasons. Read Bush’s speech to the UN, it mentions lots more than WMD:
    In 1991, Security Council Resolution 688 demanded that the Iraqi regime cease at once the repression of its own people, including the systematic repression of minorities — which the Council said, threatened international peace and security in the region. This demand goes ignored.
    Last year, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights found that Iraq continues to commit extremely grave violations of human rights, and that the regime’s repression is all pervasive. Tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution, and torture by beating and burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation, and rape. Wives are tortured in front of their husbands, children in the presence of their parents — and all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state.
    In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolutions 686 and 687, demanded that Iraq return all prisoners from Kuwait and other lands. Iraq’s regime agreed. It broke its promise. Last year the Secretary General’s high-level coordinator for this issue reported that Kuwait, Saudi, Indian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Bahraini, and Omani nationals remain unaccounted for — more than 600 people. One American pilot is among them.

    And the point of citing Democrats on this issue is not a diversionary tactic; it’s to point out that everybody made that same mistake based on intelligence, so it’s a little tough to single out Bush.
    As for my supposed bungle of your comments, here’s what you said:
    “Oops, Mark – Germany and France did not agree he had those items”. Those items referred to Mark’s comment that “We had intelligence saying he had the stuff to make WMD”
    Now, there may be a modest difference between that and “Joshua’s claim that the French and German intelligence agencies didn’t believe Saddam was working on WMD”, but to settle the point: Do you think that the French and German intelligence agencies believed Saddam was working on WMD? If I’ve unfairly characterized your position, I apologize, but I suspect that I’m correct in making that inference even if it was not a direct quote.

  49. That’s not the sole reason we went to war despite your earnest desire to make it so.
    While it’s true that many other reasons for war were listed and continue to be listed, you’re not seriously suggesting that we went to war because of Saddam’s human rights record, are you? That’s ridiculous. The only reason that mattered–no matter how many of them the administration put on any laundry list–was that we were in danger and couldn’t wait to act. The only conceivable reason we might have been in danger from Iraq was WMD. If you can’t even refrain from splitting hairs about that, you’re just being sophistic.

  50. Ok, guys, seriously, enough with this. First of all, as the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES it is INCUMBENT upon our president, especially in the State of the Union adress, NOT PUT IN ANYTHING HE DOESN”T KNOW IS COMPLETELY, FACTUALLY, 100% THE UNVARNISHED TRUTH. If you have any indication that it might not be the truth, such as a report from your freaking CIA chief that they doubt the veracity of the reports, YOU DON’T RUN WITH IT. Really people, it’s just that simple. You don’t tell half truths.
    That, Brainster, is THE DEFINITION of being an honorable person. I don’t give a good god damn how you want to spin it. OR what your “non partisan” committe “found”. AT THE TIME OF THE ADDRESS, THE IDIOT IN THE OVAL OFFICE AND HIS MINIONS DECIDED TO RUN WITH A REPORT THAT THEY DID NOT KNOW TO BE THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, SO HELP YOU GOD.
    I don’t care what the far right, or even the near right says, you can’t get past that FACT that Shrub decided to present to the American public uncorroborated information that HE KNEW to be unsubstantiated. Basically, the dude used gossip to take us to war. GOSSIP, people. Not facts.
    Try to spin THAT.

  51. Brainster,
    I only capitalize words like that so infatile minds can understand they need emphasize. Good going, resorting to attacking, of all things, my caps. That all you got? This what you do when you can’t spin the underlying premise? Niiice.

  52. Brainster:
    In your reply to Joshua, you said:
    “Funny thing, I don’t see anything in there claiming that Saddam had WMD and was poised to strike.”
    Section 1(A) of the letter states “the continuing threat posed by Iraq.” If not the threat posed by WMD, then what threat is he referring to? In his letter to Congress, Bush wrote:
    “Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me.”
    “acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243.”
    The letter itself says it must be read along with the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, which says in part:
    “Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, CONTINUING TO POSSESS (emphasis added-PLW) and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations;
    Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its CAPABILITY (emphasis added) and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other
    nations and its own people;
    Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;
    Whereas Iraq’s demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi
    regime will either employ those weapons to launch a surprise
    attack against the United States or its Armed Forces or provide
    them to international terrorists who would do so, and the extreme
    magnitude of harm that would result to the United States and
    its citizens from such an attack, combine to justify action by the United States to defend itself.”
    Brainster wrote: “And you’d have a hard time arguing from the quote given that Saddam participated in 9-11.”
    How much thinner can you slice the baloney? Is what I quoted Bush’s only utterance on this subject? Here it is, revealed for all-except you-to see. The letter refers to the resolution, and the resolution states that Hussein is poised to strike with WMDs and linked to 9/11 and Al Qaeda.
    It’s amazing that you quote Bush’s letter and engage in hairsplitting when you full well know that anyone who reads the letter and takes the time to read the congressional resolution will see what Bush was asserting and it contravenes what you are writing.
    Then again, maybe you hope that nobody will take the time to pursue the documents read them.
    I remember when conservatives split a gut laughing over Clinton’s “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Then you engage in the same microscopic, legalistic tactics. “Well, Peter, the quote you quoted doesn’t say that Iraq and 9/11 were linked, blah, blah, blah,” at the very same time that you know that there sits the congressional resolution, among other things, that makes the case against Bush’s veracity and credibility.
    I believe One reason that public support for the war in Iraq is rapidly eroding is the determination of conservative radio blabbers and print columnists to circle the wagons around George W. Bush and continue to deny the obvious. It diminishes their credibility to act as a conduit for Bush’s endless series of fallback rationalizations for this war.

  53. Again. What HE said. I will not jump up and go “Whoo-hoo”, nor will I stick my tongue out or anything else immature. Well, maybe, but I won’t mention it.
    Seriously, Peter, thank you – I was going to jump into the letter today to figure out what happened and you broke it down clearly and specifically for all and for that I thank you.
    Writergurl? the love affair continues.
    Interesting that the original post that began this thread was about current conservative thinking, how it crosses the line and the like and here we have a pro from Dover jumping in and demonstrating that very thing.

  54. “Do you think that the French and German intelligence agencies believed Saddam was working on WMD? If I’ve unfairly characterized your position, I apologize, but I suspect that I’m correct in making that inference even if it was not a direct quote.”
    I answered this earlier – when I stated that of course Saddam wanted to get WMD’s, but the measures in place had effectively curtailed him. My point is that France and Germany didn’t support our invasion because they did not believe that we were in imminant danger of being attacked with WMD, again, the reason congress voted for war.

  55. Nice work Peter. The senators may have been led to believe Hussein was farther along in 2002 than he was, but as evidence came in, (some from Joe Wilson) from Hans Blix they abandoned this notion, so to quote someone early in the game years afterwards as proof of hypocrisy is a fool’s errand.
    Real thinkers adjust their stance as new information comes in. Ideologues don’t know how to.

  56. “I only capitalize words like that so infatile minds can understand they need emphasize.”
    Okay, your nick is ironic? In fact, you capitalize words like that because you sense your argument is weak, so you think that perhaps if you shout it people won’t notice. Your substantive point appears to be this:
    “it is INCUMBENT upon our president, especially in the State of the Union adress, NOT PUT IN ANYTHING HE DOESN”T KNOW IS COMPLETELY, FACTUALLY, 100% THE UNVARNISHED TRUTH.”
    Except of course, that with intelligence nobody knows what is 100% the unvarnished truth. But again, the Senate Intelligence Committee has established that the person who was lying about the 16 words in the State of the Union address was Joe Wilson. Yes, marky48, the article about this is a year old; that’s how long ago this whole yellowcake matter was settled. You may recall that Joe Wilson suddenly disappeared from Kerry Campaign appearances.
    Peter, you keep saying that Bush claimed Saddam was “poised to strike”; you got some sort of citation? I hope we’re not going to have to rehash the “imminent threat” nonsense which Joshua drags in. As President Bush said, “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late.”
    Look, I think this summarizes where we disagree:
    You think that the only reason for going to war was the existence (not the possibility or pursuit) of WMD.
    I can’t convince you that you’re wrong on that.
    So why bang my head against the wall?

  57. Brainster, seriously, nice try at spin, but that’s just laughable. You can not “spin” the fact that there was the memo from the CIa sent to the White House, telling them that the info was, in all likelihood, incorrect. You can’t you spin the fact that the fools in the Administration decided to use it anyway. Nor can you spin the fact that White house aides have acknowledged that there were doubts about that intel at least 4 months prior to the State of the Union address. Unlike you, I’m not quoting things out of context nor am I fabricating things like the White House. Please refer to this column printed in the Washington Post.
    Try as you might, you also can’t spin the comments of the 4 star General cited in the column. Furthermore, in answer to your “intel” issues, we’re not talking about a “Well, maybe it’s not true but we’re pretty damn sure it is. So, let’s run with it.” situation. We’re talking about “Yeah, Tenent sent us that memo saying he doubted that bit of intel to be true. But, it serves our purpose so let’s run with it.”
    Nice try though.
    As for “infantile minds”… hey dude, I just call them like I see them. Bang your head elsewhere. Be our guest. No one here is buying into your trite repetitions or quotes taken out of context.
    See ya.

  58. It’s not nonsense, it’s Bush’s own words – okay, let’s throw some Bush quotes –
    “Less than 60 days ago that we started our mission. And in that period of time, not only did we remove a regime which threatened our security and held the American people hostage — .
    — Bush – Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 12, 2003
    If we weren’t in immiment danger, how were we being held hostage? How was our security threatened by Iraq if he didn’t have WMD’s and didn’t have anything to do with the attacks on our soil?
    Bush also falsely tied Iraq to the WTC attacks –
    “We learned a lesson September the 11th, and that is, our nation is vulnerable to attack. The best way to secure America is to get the enemy before they get us, and that’s what’s happening in Iraq.”
    — Bush – Crawford, Texas, Aug. 8, 2003
    He also said –
    “So I don’t know where [Osama bin Laden] is. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you. …And, again, I don’t know where he is. I — I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.
    — , White House, Mar. 13, 2002
    And two years later Bush denied that he said the above. In a nationally televised debate. That makes him a liar, sir, and frankly I think you have a real ethics problem if you consider otherwise.

  59. See, this is what happens when you follow your statcounter, you wander into silliness like this.
    First off, I had no idea that by naming my site “Kung Fu Monkey” any links to my site should immediately be mocked and my arguments assumed to be of little value. To satisfy Brainster, I will change my logo to a frowning scientist with a clipboard and rename the site “Mr. Serious Research Policy Think-y Site.” Please pardon the fact I have a fucking iota of whimsy. I cheapen us all. Even now I endeavor to improve myself, by NOT pointing out that I feel no need to call myself something like “Brainster, which betrays an insecure overcompensation only nanometrically greater than something like “BigCockNoReally-ster”. However, in the spirit of things, in order to be taken seriously by Brainster, I will dub myself “DER THOUGHTMEISTER”.
    Mmmm, taste the gravitas.
    Peter of course has done all the heavy lifting here. You’ll see that by the way Brainster alternates between refusing to engage him or slicing the pie thinner and thinner, enagaging in the intellectual equivalent of a sort of historical revisionism grade-grubbing. He’s parsing out tinier and tinier sections of documents, and committing the cardinal sin of historical analysis by ignoring the larger context around the quotes and actions he’s examining.
    As far as I can see (and this really is worth only one post, then back to actually having a life) Brainster’s arguments, shifting as they do, seem to consist of:
    a.) Bush didn’t lie about WMD’s, we all thought they had WMD’s, and then supports this with old quotes. As a matter of fact, we can go to great lengths to show EVERYBODY thought he had WMD’s —
    b.) — BUT we didn’t go to war over WMD’s anyway, look at the Resolution.
    (Let’s just skip the glaring logical disconnect here and move on)
    c.) The yellowcake — gahh. Not even going to bother on this one. Somehow I think he’s arguing that even though the documents which led us to the yellowcake story are plainly forgeries and the source of those forgeries are being investigated, that they were somehow synchronicitously true. Oh, and nice way to turn on the snark for the Washington Post quote and “staying up to date.” The quote’s a year old. Snark unde-ser-ved, sir.
    Hey, here’s a Washington Post article for you. In it the Post actually investigates and castigates it’s own policy of ignoring pre-war questions about WMD’s. I wonder, if WMD’s weren’t the major engine for the march to this war, why all these damn newspapers feel the need to apologize and investigate their own failings in analyzing this, um, nonexistent thing that no one did. Oh, and this quote’s a wee bit fresher. It’s a few days old. To borrow a flawlessly condescending phrase, sorry to burst your bubble.
    Going in reverse order:
    b.) To argue that the country was not led to war based on the threat of WMD’s is either wildly disengenuous or actively dishonest (a choice we’ll actually come back to). Although the Resolution is worded, as all these things are, to fit the requirements of the post 9/11 legislation — and as Peter points out, you quote-farmed the shit out of it — to pretend that this government did not wield the spectre of WMD’s like a club is … hmm.
    “Let there be no mistake about our Nation’s purpose in confronting Iraq — Saddam Hussein’s regime poses a clear threat to the people of United States, its friends and its allies, and it is a threat that we must address now.” — Bill Frist 3/7/03 (I particularly like the shaded reference to “clear and present danger” here)
    “We simply cannot live in fear of a ruthless dictator, aggressor and terrorist such as Saddam Hussein, who possesses the world’s most deadly weapons.” — Bill Frist 3/31/03
    “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.” Dick Cheney 9/26/02
    “If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world.” — Ari Fleischer 12/2/02 (Man, this one is sweet. No way out, eh?)
    “The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” — Condi Rice
    “Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” — President Bush 10/7/2002
    You know what — I’m not even going to go on here. If you can look me in the eye and tell me that the phrase”smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud” isn’t an attempt to scare people into thinking the bad nuke’s coming to town, it’s not even worth talking to you.
    And if WMD’s were not the primary motivation given to the American people for the war, why the attempts at validation and justification afterword? You know what, again, that’s not hard Google. I have things to do. If you can pretend we didn’t go from WMD’s to WMD programs to “WMD oriented programs” over the course of the year, then your self-delusion is, again, such that there’s no real reason to be having this discussion.
    This is, by the way, where you traditionally whip out the quotes from Clinton, Kerry, et al showing they all thought Saddam had WMD’s. (The Kerry one’s just delicious, as he specifically mentions that he’s acting on intelligence presented him by the president) Again, moving past the weird disconnect of making a strong argument that the prewar evidence of WMD’s was overwhelming and then in the same breath arguing (in a provably false manner) that didn’t matter anyway because that wasn’t why we went to war — that’s the height of false equivalence. You and I may agree our neighbor is a crazy bastard and probably a threat. That doesn’t mean we automatically agree that we need to go spike his doors and burn his house down. Please.
    We’ll just skip Cheney’s wildly inappropriate attempts at linking hijacker Atta to the Iraqi Embassy. That was so embarrassing even Cheney denied he said it. And I’m sure you’re right, linking 9/11 to Iraq as a co-conspirator had nothing to do in the run-up of the war, that’s why over %30 of this country still thinks there’s a connection. That idea just spontaneously popped into their heads. Oh, and that “including” vs. “including only” bit of sophistry you engage in is the worst kind of monkey logic. It not only constructs a straw man, it then buggers him.
    That brings us to a.) where Bush honestly thought Saddam was a threat and his actions were justified. Oddly, there’s a really beautiful missed moment here. As of Feb. 2003 the President’s brinkmanship had forced Saddam to re-open the country to inspectors — and there WERE inspectors in the country at that point. I say this with absolutely no irony: if the President had stopped there, I would say he’d made absolutely the right play. I would be going around, shaking my head, telling people, “Damn that Texan’s a canny fucker.”
    We could then, through constantly ramping up the international pressure and coordinating with our allies (who would have been forced to help, in this context) have increased the frequency and detail of the inspections. Remember, Saddam didn’t throw the inspectors out before the 2003 war, they withdrew on advisement of the beginning of the invasion. (And a side note: when people mention Saddam tossing the inspectors out in 1998, they ignore the fact that the inspectors left then also of their own accord in anticipation of the targetted bombings of suspected weapons sites. But, the first casualty of war , blah blah blah …)
    If the pre-war runup had even been a genuine “you know what, he’s a bad fucker and I want to take him out, but it’s going to be five to eight years of reconstruction, trillions of dollars and thousands of deaths,” I may well have supported the war. Unlike many of my liberal friends, I am not anti-war. I am a war realist, and pretty actively interventionist in my beliefs.
    But no, that’s not how it went. Besides (and don’t even TRY to contradict this) the “flowers and liberators” bullshit, we know all the prewar intelligence on WMD’s was wrong, wrong, wrongity wrong (feel free to quote-farm the Kay report, scurrying madly to and fro to find supporting slivers of half-paragraphs and ignoring any summary statments Kay made afterward) and we wonder how this happened. We know the CIA screwed up some of the prewar intelligence, but we also know that any doubts over WMD’s were discarded by the Administration, and that there wasFeith’s organization separately set up as a “stovepipe” for hand-picked intelligence to go straight to the Administration.
    In the last measure, it seems to comes back to whether the Administration knew the evidence was weak or not, and also how much that affected their decision and how they DID NOT present the evidence in its proper context to the American people. The President may have thought that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, but he presented it to the people of America as, repeatedly, a “known” fact when it was — and he was told this — no such thing. It boils down to — you guessed it — whether he was being wildly disengenuous or actively dishonest. You’ll forgive my more passionate friends for deciding on the second half of that equation. You may disagree with them, but to treat that option as ludicrous given the evidence is unfair. I actually tend to give the President the benefit of the doubt: he may well have been convinced that Saddam had stockpiles of weapons, but in the same way a past-his-prime quarterback is convinced he looks good in his old letterman jacket even as the buttons don’t meet and the seams split along the back — because he desperately wanted it to be true.
    I cannot imagine your life, sir. Constantly seeking to justify, through incredibly tortured legalese and selective examination of history, the policies of this Administration so you need not be cast adrift into the realm of doubt … it is always terrifying when you must discard old ideas, which brought you peace of mind. The alternative is chaos, and that’s not pleasant. But it is how the realists live, and it will take realism, and a willingness to constantly re-evaluate this facts-on-the-ground in this ever-fluxing world, in order for us to survive.
    Der Thoughtmeister (I really am digging that…)
    P.S. Though, to clarify, while I give the President the benefit of the doubt, Cheney lied like an old rug.

  60. And this is where Joshua does his impression of Ben Affleck as Chucky in GOOD WILL HUNTING – “Yeah, how do ya like me now!” (Joshua pumps his fist).
    I told ya, Kung Fu Monkey rocks – his Kung Fu is strong.

  61. Ah, I see while I was writing, Brainster updated tersely. I will answer with brevity.
    You can quite reasonably show that reasons other than WMD’s were included on the laundry list of why we went to war. You are being either disingenuous or dishonest when you argue that was not the primary reason presented to the American people for the cause of the war.
    And given the weight of WMD’s as a reason, to claim people are somehow unjustified in believing they were misled is well, the only word I’m landing on is “petty”. They may not have been lied to, but it is not unreasonable to believe they were misled. We are well into “what the definition of ‘is’ is” territory here, and you’re on the Clinton side of that argument right now.

  62. Jonrog1, I said nothing about your site, so you don’t have to do anything “to satisfy Brainster”. I do agree that there’s no sense continuing the conversation, not when Writergurl’s wheeling out 2-year-old Washington Post articles to refute (heh) my 1-year-old Washington Post article which cites the Senate Committee on Intelligence.
    If you interpret every intelligence mistake on Iraq as evidence of lying by Bush, then there’s nothing to debate. If you’re going to insist that existing WMD were the only reasons cited by Bush for going to war, then obviously you don’t read much outside the liberal coccoon. If you’re going to insist that Bush tied Saddam directly to 9-11, I can’t educate you differently.

  63. I believe that I already demonstrated, via Bush’s own words, that he deliberately tied 9/11 to Iraq (and Cheney went even farther) – so to insist otherwise is not only wrong, it’s blind.
    And I believe the statement was WMD’s were the primary reason we went to war, supported by the quotes above, to which you keep nimbly avoiding . . .
    And as far as “intelligence mistakes” which, I believe, is the first time you’re admitting something like that is even possible, if there were such mistakes, why did Bush give the head of the CIA the congressional Medal of Freedom (this despite the fact Tenet oversaw the worst attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor) –
    Ignorant is the word you once assigned me, sir, but I think willfully and blindly ignorant better describes you.
    good bye and good riddance.

  64. Oh for Christ’s sake. My Post article was used a an illustration of what the Adinistration acknowledged knowing prior to the State of the Union address. Those are facts in there, not conclusions or conjecture. Facts, unlike your infantile constructs, can withstand the ravages of time because they are the truth. Deal with it.

  65. As I clearly illustrated the committee led by believer Pat Roberts that was at best inconclusive, proves nothing except they believed the BS despite the proof contrary. That’s pure ideologial blindness to reality.

  66. jonroq1:
    I bow in admiration before your mastery of the evidence and sweet reasoning.
    I do wish I had read your blog befoe I took the time to assemble my replies to you. Debating you is a waste of time. I could nail Jello to the wall easier. A quick look at your blog shows that you love to imbibe Bush’s poisoned Kool-Aid. Anyone who links Lucianne Goldberg’s site approvingly is just a reflexive partisan Republican. There’s no reasoning with those people. The best thing to do is ignore them. It’s tough to restrain oneself from rising to the bait, but it can be done.
    a person motivated by irrational enthusiasm (as for a cause); “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject”–Winston Churchill

  67. I read enough to know illogical wingnuttery when I see it. Dismis evidence you don’t like and divine the rest. Another postcard from wingerville. Cocoon indeed.

  68. Brainster, I thought you’d said good-bye?
    Many of us here are not liberal but are frustrated with folk who insist on ignoring the obvious evidence (like, Bush deliberated tied 9/11 to Iraq, etc, WMD’s were the primary reason for the war) and the real reason you’re backing off is that you can’t match it, fact for fact. To accuse us of ignoring evidence is ironic, since you do that very thing yourself.
    Just by dismissing the importance of WMD’s to this issue makes you a fundelmentally dishonest person.
    Unlike you, I do care. I care what’s happened to our country, that we’ve been attacked by terrorists and that our soldiers are dying. I care a lot more about that than I do about politics. And it appears that I care more than you.
    Okay, obviously this has gone on long enough. Good luck with your work of deceiving the world.

  69. Brainster:
    I read portions of he Senate Select Committe On Intelligence’s report on the U.S. intelligence community’s prewar intelligence assessments of Iraq.
    On page 80, they write:
    “Conclusion 21. When coordinating the State of the Union, no Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analysts or officials told the National Security Council (NSC) to remove the “16 words” or that there were concerns about the credibility of the Iraq-Niger uranium reporting. A CIA official’s original testimony to the Committe that he told an NSC official to remove the words “Niger” and “500 tons” from the speech, is incorrect.”
    Absent other evidence on the “16 words” issue, I am forced to agree with you on the narrow point that Bush’s use of said 16 words was not deceptive.

  70. I want to jump in here on what Brainster said about Pat Robertson’s right to free speech. Yes, free speech is protected by the 1st amendment – however hate speech is not protected. Calling for the assassination of a human being over the airwaves is hate speech – which, technically speaking and legally speaking – the FCC would be justified in fining Mr. Robertson.


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