I read the most recent installment over at Cox and Forkum, and found that the commentary under the strip was missing an excellent piece that jmaynard pointed me at a few days ago. So I emailed the guys with a link, and POW! Not only did they link to Norman Podhoretz’ dissertation, they linked to ME!
If you’re coming here from C&F, know that I don’t typically talk politics, though it does happen sometimes. Adding my blog to your list of “informed sources” would be like rolling the Washington Post up and packaging it as toilet paper — it might be a satisfactory political statement, but you’ll end up with a sore butt.
(Okay, THAT metaphor has to go on my “don’t do that again” list.)
Adding my comic to your list of “things you read every day” will be much more satisfying and yes, easier on those tender places.
24 thoughts on “Thanks for the nod, Allen!”
I’m no peacenik, but there is a reality distortion field going on somewhere in this situation. Either it’s emanating from Norman Podhoretz, or we’re living in Bizarro world. Is Mr. Podhoretz seriously suggesting that we found the WMDs we were told to expect? Or is it that the endless video records of the Bush administration telling us about them during the buildup to the war were forgeries?
You mean like the 500 tons of reactor fuel uranium which went missing but has been found? The same kind that, once you run it through a centrifuge, can have the bomb grade isotope extracted?
The very same uranium which the BBQ reports on right here?
Or does a large stockpile of material that can be used to make weapons not count as weapons? Even Greenpeace says that it can be used to make bombs, and they’re hardly on the present administration’s side.
The Danes found some good old fashioned Mustard Gas, according to the Guardian, also not a source friendly to the present administration.
But then maybe it’s all a big hoax being propagated by those evil Rethuglicans and their Theonazi masters.
I am just amazingly unimpressed.
The point is not whether or not there were WMDs in Iraq. The point is that EVERYBODY believed they were there — France, Germany, Britain, US Democrats, the Bush Whitehouse — EVERYBODY.
If you read Podhoretz’ article, you should come away understanding that the issue now is that Democrats are seeking to re-write history in order to pander to the anti-war far left. In short, THEY are the ones lying. Bush never lied. At worst he acted on incomplete intelligence, but it was the very BEST intelligence ANYBODY had, and he had bipartisan and multinational support in that.
That said, Iraq had WMDs (chemical and biological) for over a decade following the Gulf War, and nobody can document where they disappeared to. Sure, we didn’t find them. Did Saddam order them destroyed prior to the invasion? Did he order them shipped to Syria? We don’t know. That absence of evidence is NOT proof that Bush lied, however.
I believed it too. It came as a huge surprise to me when the WMDs weren’t found, and I still don’t know why Iraq’s weapons programs were so anemic that this was the best
could do. The Bush administration was patriotically and ideologically resistant to intelligence that contradicted the war footing, and actually went so far as to out undercover agents in order to hear the intelligence outcomes that they wanted to hear; whereas the president himself is merely an incompetent mouthpiece of his own minions. Lying is believing one thing and saying another. In order to coordinate that, he would have to be a lot less confused and disoriented than he is. I’m not sure which is scarier.
On the importance of war
While this is true, it’s not proof that he lied, I want concrete reasons when my country goes to war. I want explanations saying “there are 500 tons of yellowcake in this town, and we believe that this raw material is being centrifuged or otherwise processed to separate U235.” Or “on five separate occasions, we have intelligence that OBL met with Saddam Hussein to plot attacks upon US targets.” And even on that latter, there had better be considerable evidence to support the premise that such attacks were an imminent threat for which war is the only recourse.
Furthermore, I want a congressional declaration of war, setting this rationale down for posterity. Something as important as a war should be formalized, with all i’s dotted and t’s crossed, otherwise what is the rule of law for? Are we in such a hurry, or is the idea passe?
I understand that intelligence can be faulty. But this is the entire reason that preemption is such a risky business. If your intelligence is faulty–and at best, it was spotty in my opinion–then you get held accountable. The buck stops with the ultimate decision maker, and HE has to be the final judge. I am quite skeptical that President Bush’s standards of proof are as high as mine.
Re: On the importance of war
Frankly, I’m glad we didn’t wait until we had “imminence,” as Podhoretz describes. We had ten years’ worth of evidence that Saddam needed to be removed from power. Waiting for proof positive that he was providing chemical and biological weapons to terror camps would have required waiting until those weapons were used against our allies in Europe or against us here.
Remember, we do have proof that Saddam had such weapons, and used them against his own people. Right now all we know is that we can’t find them. No records exist of their destruction or deployment, but there’s PLENTY of documentation about their construction and storage in the early 90’s.
Then there’s the matter of Senator Rockefeller telling Bashar Assad in January 2002 that he felt Bush planned to go to war in Iraq “no matter what.” Read up on it. If he gave Syria (source of most of the foreign “insurgents” in Iraq) advanced warning of impending war, that would have given Saddam 14 months to hide or evacuate his WMDs, rather than the six months we THOUGHT he had.
Upshot — I’m glad that policymakers have lower standards of proof than you do. The only absolutely irrefutable evidence we would have recieved would have been westerners dying from chemical and biological weapons attacks. And at that point we might have been faced with the temptation to respond with nukes.
easier on those tender places
Until you laugh your ass off, anyway.
Sorry. I’ll try to scale the punchlines back a bit.
No, don’t worry about me, I’ll just buy a better chair cushion.
I think the piece of evidence that would sway the opinions of even the most anti-bush person (and I am one) is that Bush didn’t start spinning the “freedom on the march” bullshit until it was obvious that there were going to be no WMDs found any time soon. If he’d REALLY planned it with a lie that whopping big, there would have either been planted evidence, or he’d have started spinning before it became obvious there were no WMDs. Actually, he would have started spinning right after the invasion began. “This in not just about the WMDs that Saddam might be equipping terrorists with, this is about the freedom of a people subjected to a cruel and inhumane tyrant!”
Yeah, I believe Bush belived in the WMDs. I think he was friggin retarded for jumping the gun, though. Asking for the power to go to war as a “last resort” didn’t quite jive with how fast he did once he got that vote. I wish he’d been more sensible. “Walk softly and carry a big stick” is a philosophy I can appreciate in a president. “Stomp around and swing at everything that moves like a drunken frat guy” is just not my style.
But don’t forget that most of the Democrats in Congress voted to give him that power, and now they’re trying to rewrite history, saying that they didn’t.
Why? Because they want to capitalize on anti-war sentiment in the next election, voting records aside.
This is insidious and evil, and THAT’s what the current discussion is about.
I’ve seen them trying to split hairs by saying they voted to give it to him as a leverage tool and not because they believed there were WMDs around. Which is toolish, yes. But the whitehouse is trying to act like the WMDs weren’t even the reason Bush was voted that power in the first place, which is MORE revisionist in my opinion. And they started that spin long, long ago. Any democrat saying “I didn’t vote to go to war” is definately trying to spin it. Except for a certain one who REALLY DIDN’T vote to go to war, and she deserves to be able to say what she wants about it.
The whole pretext for war was WMDs. They aren’t there. MAJOR fuckup costing billions of dollars, tens of thousands of lives, and totally took our eye off the ball of finding Bin Laden. And not a single appology from Bush about it. Instead it’s an insult to our soldiers to talk about it. THAT is what’s evil and insidious, Howard. It’s an insult to our soldiers NOT to make sure that their lives are spent on worthwhile goals. And toppling Saddam because he’s a meanybutt doesn’t cut the mustard with me. (And yes, I know he’s a serious meanybutt. But there are much bigger meanybutts out there.)
I blame the dems for caving in and giving Bush the okay for war before a good case was made, and I blame Bush and the republicans for jumping the gun and invading without good evidence. The dems were the Cowardly Lion with no courage, and the Republicans were the Scarecrow with no brains. To bad Toto wasn’t around to keep them in line.
The more I look at the “flypaper” case, the more I think we’re there for the right reasons after all. We’ve succeeded in killing or incarcerating tens of thousands of Islamofascists, and doing it without letting them get anywhere near American civilians.
Yes, our troops are in harm’s way, but I don’t think anybody is “spending their lives” on anything other than that most worthwhile of all goals — protecting American civilians.
As to finding Bin Laden, decapitating his organization two years ago wouldn’t have done NEARLY as much to cripple Al Quaeda as the war in Iraq has. His senior leadership has been whittled down, and they’re fielding very, very junior people as leaders now. Their funding is drying up, and in desperation they’re terrorizing their own people in Iraq and Jordan in an effort to drum up support.
This war has exposed and weakened the global terror network in ways we never could have otherwise. Imagine trying to get permission from Syria or Iran to send troops into their terror camps! The “flypaper” method brings them to us, and allows us not only to defeat them in detail, but to track them, their money, and their supplies back to their varied sources.
And our troops are not sitting ducks. They KNOW they’re in harm’s way. Many of them are saying “bring it on,” because they’re the best trained and best equipped soldiers in the world, and will continue to inflict 20 to 1 casualties on the terrorists.
I agree with you that the flypaper theory is the best reason for us to have gotten involved, and we’ve actually discussed this before. But with regard to the rationales to go to war, and the formalism of drawing up an official declaration of war, I think this administration dropped the ball. Unless you have a clear, convincing reason put forth to your constituency (and, secondarily, the rest of the world), then you have NO legitimate cause of action. Grow a pair, and put it in writing in the Declaration of War.
I think formalism is important here, because lacking it validates every simmering conflict around the world. Suddenly, the Palestinian struggle with Israel is righteous, as are the independence struggles in Bosnia, Columbia, and Chechnya. Not that I really believe that, but I think there are secessionist areas that WOULD vote that way, were their countries ever put to a vote. Leaving any leeway by not declaring war on a sovereign nation leaves us open to charge that the democratic will of the people is not being followed, and that the war is instead being prosecuted by a dictator with an agenda.
The fact that the Democrats who voted for the war and are now back-tracking are scum does not mean that Bush isn’t scum.
I never cared for Cox and Forkum. Sometimes I almost agree with them, but most of the time they come off way too pro government for my tastes.
But it’s always cool to get a mention on someone’s site. So good job.
I don’t know… I’ve seen lots of criticism of Bush’s decisions there. Cox and Forkum are not pro-establishment or pro-government, per se.
Yay Cox and Forkum! I really enjoy their editorial toons. I’m glad you got the nod.
This is why I can’t ever get anything done!
I keep trying to leave politics alone and just be properly disaffected and disgusted until voting time, but just as I become comfortably numb, someone always manages to point something like this in my direction (or is that the other way around?), and I realize there’s too much uninformed stupidity out there and I can’t sit back and be part of it.
I’m conservative. Bush is seriously irritating me with his abandonment of the fiscally conservative roots of his party, and I have my suspicions about him being critically unintelligent, but I have to agree with Podhoretz on this one. Stupid does not a liar make.
Now, don’t get me started on the truly evil people I believe to be giving the man advice (or cutting him out of the loop). They’re just as evil as the Dems who’re so busy with the whiteout. At least up in Canada, the dirty, obviously distorted politicking is out in the open. *sigh*
Re: This is why I can’t ever get anything done!
I hear you, re: never getting anything done. That’s why I usually avoid political rants.
Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surely curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
-R. A. H.?
Notebooks of Lazurus Long, I think.
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