19 Mar

10 Yr Anniversary of OIF: The Lie that Bush Lied

                                       
A U.S. soldier watches as a statue of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein falls in central Baghdad April 9, 2003. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

A U.S. soldier watches as a statue of Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein falls in central Baghdad April 9, 2003.
REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

As the 10th anniversary of OIF arrives, Peter Feaver goes through some of the most prevalent myths regarding the wrongful narrative that “Bush lied, people died”:

1. The Bush administration went to war against Iraq because it thought (or claimed to think) Iraq had been behind the 9/11 attacks. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the Bush Administration did explore the possibility that Hussein might have collaborated with al Qaeda on the attacks. Vice President Dick Cheney (along with some officials in the secretary of defense’s office) in particular believed this hypothesis had some merit, and in the early months gave considerable weight to some tantalizing evidence that seemed to support it. However, by the fall of 2002 when the administration was in fact selling the policy of confronting Hussein, the question of a specific link to 9/11 was abandoned and Cheney instead emphasized the larger possibility of collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda. We now know that those fears were reasonable and supported by the evidence captured in Iraq after the invasion. This has been documented extensively through the work of the Conflict Records Research Center (CRRC), which examined the captured files of the Hussein regime. A 2012 International Studies Association panel sponsored by the CRRC on “Saddam and Terrorism” was devoted to this topic and spent quite a bit of time demonstrating how those who insist that there were no links whatsoever simply rely on a poorly worded sentence referencing “no smoking gun” of a “direct connection” in the executive summary of the 2007 “Iraqi Perspectives Project – Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Documents” report and ignore the evidence of links and attempted connections uncovered in the report itself as well as subsequent work by the project.

It is heartening whenever I see someone link or make reference to the Iraqi Perspectives Project, since it went largely ignored by the media (aside from misrepresenting its contents, thanks to lazily piggying on McClatchy’s summary report).

My own contribution in regards to what President Bush and VP Cheney actually said in regards to Saddam and 9/11, and why there is confusion: Did President Bush Link Saddam Hussein to 9/11?

Feaver’s myth #2 has to do with the belief that we went to war for the sake of democratizing Iraq:

(1) Bush was committed to confronting Iraq because of the changed risk calculus brought about by 9/11, which heightened our sensitivity to the nexus of WMD and terrorism (believing that state sponsors of terrorism who had WMD would be a likely pathway by which terrorist networks like al Qaeda could secure WMD); (2) Bush was also committed not to making the mistake of Desert Storm, namely stopping the war with Hussein still in power and concluded that confronting Hussein must end with either full capitulation by Hussein or regime change through war; (3) given regime change, the best option for the new Iraq was one based on pluralism and representative government rather than a “man on horseback” new dictator to take Hussein’s place. To be sure, the Bush administration greatly underestimated the difficulty of the democratization path, but democratization was not the prime motivation — confronting the WMD threat was. Democratization was the consequence of that prime motivation.

It’s true that the political language changed after it was becoming embarrassingly clear that the wmd stockpile we believed would be found in Iraq wasn’t likely to turn up. Douglas Feith in his book points out that this was a mistake on the administration’s PR, not to reiterate to the American public and defend the original arguments for why we went into Iraq and removed Saddam’s regime:

it was a strategic error for the President to make no effort to defend the arguments that had motivated him before the war. We were in a U.S. presidential election year, and President Bush’s political opponents were intent on magnifying the Administration’s mistakes regarding WMD in Iraq. On television and radio, in print, and on the Internet, day after day, they repeated the claim that the undiscovered stockpiles were the sum and substance of why the United States went to war with Saddam. At first they argued that the war was based entirely on error. Now critics had escalated to the accusation that the war was based on lies.

Electoral politics aside, I thought it was important for national security reason that the President refute his critics’ mistatements. The CIA assessments of WMD were wrong, but they had originated in the years before he became President. The same intelligence assessments had been accepted by Democratic and Republican members of Congress, as well as UN and other officials around the world. And, in any event, the erroneous intelligence was not the entire rationale for overthrowing Saddam.

~~~

It would be useful to “make clear the tie-in between Iraq and the broader war on terrorism”- in the following terms: The Saddam Hussein regime “had used WMD, supported various terrorist groups, was hostile to the US and had a record of aggression and of defiance of numerous UN resolutions.” In light of 9/11, the “danger that Saddam’s regime could provide biological weapons or other WMD to terrorist groups for use against us was too great” to let stand. And other ways of countering the danger- containment, sanctions, inspections, no-fly zones- had proven “unsustainable or inadequate.”

-Douglas Feith, War and Decision, Pg 491-2

Stephen Hadley:

You know, the lore out there was we went to war to bring democracy to the Iraqi people. That was not the case. We went to war to achieve some hard national security objectives.

Before we went to war the president had, in the situation room, a conversation about, once we topple Saddam, what is our obligation to the Iraqi people? Is it simply to substitute an authoritarian who will not move against our interests by supporting terror, invading neighbors, pursuing WMD? Or do we have an obligation because we are the United States of America, and because they’ve suffered under 30 years of a brutal authoritarian. Do we have an obligation to give the Iraqi people a chance, an opportunity, to build a democratic future for themselves?

The president decided on the latter, and I actually think we achieved that objective. It wasn’t pretty, and Iraq today is not pretty, but it has an opportunity to build a democratic future despite the enormous pressure that Syria and other events are putting on Iraq.

Read more from the FP roundtable.

Reflecting back to pre-war debates:

When the Bush administration did put the Iraq issue on the front-burner over the summer of 2002, I found the arguments of Bush opponents to be over-drawn and unconvincing — in particular, the anti-Bush position seemed not to take seriously enough the fact that the U.N. inspections regime had collapsed nor that the sanctions regime was in the process of collapsing — and so I found myself often critiquing the critics. I found the Bush argument that Hussein was gaming the sanctions and poised to redouble his WMD efforts when the sanctions finally collapsed to be a more plausible account of where things were heading absent a confrontation (and as we now know from the interviews with Hussein after his capture that was exactly what he was planning to do).

Feaver’s Myth #3 addresses the conspiratorial claim that Bush and Cheney went to war to make their friends rich and steal Iraqi oil.

#4 has to do with the notion that those dreadful neocons, like Feith and Wolfowitz, held such power of the Administration as to steer us to war.

Feaver, citing Frank Harvey, points out that he:

painstakingly reconstructs the decision process in 2002 and documents all of the ways that the Bush administration took steps contrary to the “neoconism” thesis — eg., working through the United Nations and seeking Congressional authorization rather than adopting the unilateralist/executive-only approach many Iraq hawks were urging. (Leffler makes similar points in his lecture).

Given how President Obama has in some ways perpetuated, escalated, and even “out-Bushed” Bush when it comes to the GWoT (or, if you will: “Overseas Contingency Operations”), it begs the question: Would a President Gore have authorized an Iraq invasion? Certainly he would not have had the same players advising him; however, given past statements during his Clinton years:

“Remember, Peter, this is a man who has used poison gas on his own people and on his neighbors repeatedly. He’s trying to get ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons. He could be a mass murderer of the first order of magnitude. We are not going to allow that to happen.”

– Al Gore , December 16, 1998.

“[I]f you allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, how many people is he going to kill with such weapons? He’s already demonstrated a willingness to use these weapons; he poison gassed his own people. He used poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors. This man has no compunctions about killing lots and lots of people.”

– Al Gore , December 16, 1998.

…And given the current PotUS in perpetuating “endless war” rather than ending it, Feaver and Harvey entertains the notion:

Harvey goes on to make an intriguing case that had Al Gore won the election in 2000, he would have likely authorized the Iraq war just as Bush did. Harvey has not fully convinced me of the latter, but he usefully rebuts much sloppy mythologizing about Gore’s foreign policy views, documenting how Gore was, in fact, the most hawkish of officials on Iraq in the Clinton administration. At a minimum, Harvey proves that the Iraq war owed more to the Clinton perspective than it did to then-candidate George W. Bush’s worldview as expressed during the 2000 campaign. The neoconism myth serves a politically useful function of fixing all blame on a specific group of Republicans, but, as Harvey shows, the truth is not quite so simplistic.

Feaver’s myth #5 has to do with “Bush lied”:

I have addressed this myth before. It is a staple of the anti-Iraq/anti-Bush commentary — and not just of the pseudonymous trolls in blog comment sections. John Mearsheimer, one of the most influential security studies academics, has written a book built around the claim that leaders regularly lie and that Bush in particular lied about Iraq. Mearsheimer claims “four key lies,” each one carefully rebutted by Mel Leffler.

  • The first is the question of links between Iraq and al Qaeda. As I noted above, while the Iraq files contain no “smoking gun” of an active operational link, the record includes ample evidence of overtures originating from either side — each pursuing precisely the kind of enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend alliance of convenience that Bush worried about.
  • The second is the Bush administration statements of certainty about Iraq’s WMD programs. It turns out the Bush administration officials were wrong on many of those particulars and should have been less certain about how they were reading the intelligence, but there is no compelling evidence that they knew they were reading the intelligence incorrectly, which is what is logically required to prove the charge of “lying” rather than being “mistaken.”
  • The third is the charge that Bush claimed Saddam was behind the attacks of 9/11. Here Mearsheimer ignores the explicit and repeated explanation by President Bush (and countless administration figures) about what they meant — namely that the links they saw were (i) how 9/11 had changed their risk calculus and (ii) how terrorist groups and states sponsors of terror should be treated as part and parcel of the same war. Again, the Bush administration may or may not have been wrong to view things that way but these are disputes of reasoning and policy, not fact.
  • The fourth is the charge that Bush “lied” about sincerely pursuing a diplomatic solution short of war in 2002-2003. In fact, Bush was committed to a final resolution of WMD issue, which he believed would require either abject capitulation by Hussein or forcible regime change. Bush was not open to a wide range of face-saving and half-way diplomatic measures, but he never claimed to be. In other words, Bush was not willing to accept diplomatic solutions that others might have accepted, but he did go to great lengths to secure the diplomatic solution he was willing to accept but Saddam was not.
  • Charles Duelfer also has a write-up in yesterday’s Foreign Policy, claiming that No Books Were Cooked:

    Certainly, there were plenty of mistakes made then that should be avoided in the future. However, many of these arguments seem grounded in politics rather than reality.

    One of the most obvious examples is the widely accepted statement that President George W. Bush lied about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) stockpiles. But here’s the thing: If Bush knew that Saddam did not have such weapons, he would have been the only one — even Saddam wasn’t 100 percent certain about what resided in his stockpiles. In reaction to insistent U.S. and British statements about Iraq’s WMD, at an October 2002 Revolutionary Command Council meeting, Saddam asked his own staff whether they might know something he did not about residual WMD stocks.

    The intelligence wasn’t cooked or slanted to make policymakers happy. It was just wrong. That made Bush mistaken — but it doesn’t make him a liar.

    Intelligence agencies around the world erred in their assessments about Iraqi WMD. Some were more wrong than others. But the broadly held view by intelligence practitioners was that Saddam had capabilities that exceeded the limitations placed on him by the United Nations after the 1991 Gulf War. And in fact, Saddam was not fully compliant with the United Nations: He had ballistic missiles that exceeded permitted range limits and he had certainly had a long track record of blocking and deceiving U.N. weapons inspectors. His cooperation was always less than needed. But as it turned out, by 2002, the Iraqi president did not have militarily significant stocks of chemical or biological agents, and his nuclear program had been halted years earlier.

    Given Saddam’s history, it wasn’t crazy for the intelligence community to believe that he would reconstitute his WMD programs. Consider these data points: In the 1980s, Saddam employed massive amounts chemical munitions to the front in his war with Iran. It saved Iraq (and his regime) from Iranian “human wave attacks.” Later, in the 1991 Kuwait war, Saddam deployed and authorized the use of chemical and biological missiles and bombs, should the United States advance on Baghdad. It did not; Saddam believed his possession of WMD deterred President George H. W. Bush. So Saddam had two experiences where WMD saved him. That’s a pretty good incentive to hang on to as much of it as possible. And for years he did everything possible to do just that-as evidenced by his indisputable track record of lying and deception to U.N. inspectors from 1991 to 1997.

    ~~~

    In the context of the days after the 9/11 attacks, when concern over the next attack on the U.S. homeland was palpable, America’s tolerance for risk was dramatically lowered. There was no appetite for minimizing any threat that could repeat the trauma of the 9/11 attacks. Saddam was one of those threats.

    The intelligence community also was right that Saddam hadn’t lost his desire for WMD. He stated clearly during our debriefings of him after his capture that he intended to recreate these capabilities once conditions permitted — that is, after sanctions were lifted.

    ~~~

    Intelligence reports should not be the only basis for making decisions, and they were not for the Bush administration. Vice President Dick Cheney was correct to meet directly with intelligence analysts — it’s a good way to get a feel for what they really know. High-ranking officials were also right to think they may know more than the analysts. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, for instance, had much more experience with Iraqis than the analysts. He met with Saddam personally. He had multiple meetings with Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.

    There were massive errors made in the run-up to the Iraq war. Some seemed even at the time to be avoidable. But the historical record doesn’t support today’s conventional wisdom: Bush did not lie. He made decisions based on incomplete and incorrect assessments. All presidents do this, and some decisions work out well and some do not.

    So who lied? Well, Valerie Plame’s husband Joe Wilson, for one. So much so that he was rebuked in one of the Senate Select Intell Committee reports.

    And yet, even to this day, I see those who perpetuate the distorted narrative regarding those “16 words” in President Bush’s SotU address.

    678-10web-USIRAQ-minor.standalone.prod_affiliate.91

    Another myth: That we were never greeted as Liberators.

    Iraqi children greeted McLaughlin’s tank in Baghdad on April 12. “People were pretty happy with us until about August of 2003,” he says today. “In April they were really happy.”
    -Tim McLaughlin

    I strongly believe that history will vindicate the Bush Administration record in regards to what led them to opt for the decision in removing Saddam from power.

    This entry was posted in Bush 43, Bush Derangement Syndrome, Iraq/Al-Qaeda Connection, On This Day, The Iraqi War, This Day in History. Bookmark the permalink. Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 at 12:50 am
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    77 Responses to 10 Yr Anniversary of OIF: The Lie that Bush Lied

    1. another vet says: 51

      @MataHarley: Excellent input and links as always.

      ReplyReply
    2. Snooper
      yes, OBAMA and friends BUILT THEIR 2008 ELECTION ON THOSE LIES,
      so much repeated they got the people to follow them as a desperate choice
      to evade the character PAINTED of PRESIDENT BUSH,
      AND THEY GOT THE LIAR INSTEAD,
      BYE

      ReplyReply
    3. Dc says: 53

      As far as being misled goes….there was plenty of “misinformation” flying around on all sides of this. And it was investigated to death after the fact. And trust me, the democrats on that panel were MORE than willing to hang whatever they could find around GW Bush’s neck.

      The claim that there was “real” disagreement in the Intel community beyond those noted in reports and that the White House was white washing reports….were born out of an op ed done by Valerie Plame’s husband, Joseph Wilson. His statements and opinions were put to the test in during the investigations by the Senate Intel committee and summarily dismissed within a couple of paragraphs buried in the report.

      This of course pales in comparison to the reams of reports, books, etc..all suggesting otherwise. Or the fact that media reports after the report was issued tended to focus on both sides (DNC, RNC) pushing fragments of it out of context as “proof” of something. But, the report itself looked into the larger claims made during the run up to the war, and addressed many of them in detail. Joe Wilson was found to be a serial exaggerator with a vivid imagination and his claims were dismissed.

      Once that happened…ALL the other claims related to his untrue statements fall as well. You can’t have that both ways. His wife getting drug into this was done by Richard Armitage revealing her identity to Novak who then printed it. Libby, was hawking the story on the side…which in and of itself (while distasteful) was not illegal in any way. He was indicted for not being straight with investigators about it (he gave them multiple versions).

      So, the largest claim…that the WH had some neo-con designs on the world to make their oil friends rich by killing americans and iraqi’s…and that they manufactured the evidence for it and lied to american people knowing that it was wrong….is simply not true and never was true nor was there any evidence (then or since) to support these allegations directly other than people saying it.

      That along with their clever misdirecting like ….”but Iraq did not attack us on 9/11″ as a strategic argument? Afghanistan didn’t attack us on 9/11 either. That’s not the reason we went to Afghanistan either. You fight a war strategically based on understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your enemies and their allies. It was a logical and prudent next step to consider Saadam BECAUSE of his past history with WMD “and” his past history with known terrorist groups seeking to attack US interests. This coupled with the fact that it was well known that AlQueda was seeking WMD for even larger more disruptive attacks and had been for a while.

      None of this was contested early on. Congress gave president Bush carte blanch to deal with the issue. And you can in fact go back and read the statements/speeches on the floor yourself of what people like then Senator Clinton or Kerry, etc..said at the time. There were very few dissenters. And out of those, most of them were simply anti-war (no matter what)…ie., they didn’t want to go into afghanistan either.

      So, it’s certainly fine to disagree that Iraq was the right strategic move in the larger GWOT….or to disagree with how it was handled etc. But, the idea that this was some global conspiracy based on lies generated from within the White House has long been discredited by the information that has come out (or not) since.

      ReplyReply
    4. he take the word of rebels where alqaeda are in control, instead of ASSAD PRESIDENT,
      JORDAN SAID THE ALQAEDA WANT TO CONTROL ALL AND THEY ARE NEXT, REMEMBER WHEN GADAFI SAID THAT?
      THE ALQAEDA HAVE THE CHIMICALS AND SAID IT’S ASSAD,
      YES ASSAD HAS SOME BUT IS NOT USING IT,
      THE REBELS ARE BACKED BY ALQAEDA WHO WILL DO ANYTHING TO MAKE BELIEVE ASSAD IS POISONING THE PEOPLE, THEY ARE DANGEROUS AND CONVINCING, BECAUSE THEY KNOW OBAMA IS SET ON ASSAD TO GO,
      THAT WOULD GET THEM VICTORY OF ANOTHER COUNTRY AND THEIR GOAL WOULD ADVANCE
      MORE AND MORE, WATCH JORDAN NEXT TO FALL.
      HISTORY WILL BE ON THE SIDE OF ASSAD WHO STOOD UP TO THE BROTHERHOOD AGENDA TO GAIN TOTAL CONTROL
      AND BECOMING A POWER UNBEATEBLE WITH IRAN,
      NORTH KOREA AND OTHER LIKE AFGHANISTAN PAKISTAN ALL MUSLIM COUNTRIES JOINING THE PLAN USING NUKE ON US,
      ASSAD PRESIDENT , is blocking their advance

      ReplyReply
    5. Randy says: 55

      @Poppa_T: I think the people who benifited the most after the Iraqis were the Chinese. The got many of the contracts. The only issue that concerned was that if Saddam had WMDs and used it on neighboring countries, what do you think the economic situation of the world would be now with Iraq, Iran Saudi , Kuwait and the Emeriates could no longer ship oil? Old Greg in Indiana would like have froze his but to the toilet seat!

      ReplyReply
    6. Poppa_T says: 56

      @Randy:

      My friend, I don’t know who benefited the most from the Iraq War but I do know who did not. The friends and families of the 100,000 plus Iraqis who died and the friends and families of the almost 4,500 US service members who died.

      As for what the state of the world economy would have been without the war? Who knows it’s nothing to be happy about right now…talk to the people of Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, Japan, Spain and the over 20% who are unemployed here.

      ReplyReply
    7. MataHarley says: 57

      @Randy, just to let you know, it’s sort of a toss up as to whether Russia or China… as a whole… walked away with the bulk nation benefits of the Iraq multi day auctions for contracts. Actually, some of these are joint ventures, such as the largest al-Rumeila field, awarded to UK’s BP along with China’s NPC. So while China benefits, so does the UK. The joys, and complexities of global business ventures, and “privatization”.

      What I do know is that Russian gained, exclusively, at least 10% of all awarded contracts for themselves. I suspect that China is a nose photo finish second.

      Then again, any Russian financial benefits is also an ace card in the pocket of Cyprus… who isn’t going to be in jeopardy since they are a valued geographic, as well as tax shelter valued asset. They’ll likely be bailed out by the Russians, who not only retire there with the Greek Orthodox/Greek escapees, but by all the rest who have the benefit of using it for their “Swiss bank accounts” type tax shelters. (Side note… actually, in the long run, this may benefit Israel. But that’s another story. I say bring it on. The EU vs laundering money/big investor biz should be quite entertaining)

      Back to Iraq oil contracts. There were a total of 44 oil companies participating in the 2nd day of auction/bidding of Iraqi oil fields alone. What was noticeably absent is US firms in the bidding, because of the stiff competition.

      If they are US soil based headquarters, liable for the income on the profits, that’s easily understandable. So the “war for oil” and “Bush/Cheney did it for oil” argument goes down the rabbit hole. Neither of these men can be classified as “oil stupid”… which would be what it would take for OIF to be a war for oil.

      ReplyReply
    8. MataHarley says: 58

      @Poppa_T… huh?

      Families of warriors, or collateral damage, never benefit from wars. That, however, doesn’t deem a war as justifiable or not for US national security purposes – present or future.

      So your point is? Or are we now moving the conversation from the very place you steered it to?

      And now how do you feel about your source link’s assertion as some sort of proof it was a war for oil, when it clearly was not? Gosh darn, guy.. they are one of those left wing organizations who bases their philosophy in the leftist “holistic approach, linking peace and security with economic justice and human development” beliefs. Of course they’d pick up a couple of badly scanned , cropped “document” pages out of a “book length” report to exploit it for their leftist agenda, without further research.

      Neither Bush or Cheney, especially in the aftermath of so many American deaths from Sept 11th, would construct such a bad deal for (not) profitable gains. To believe that was their intent in those times is, I believe, a disservice to both as human beings, *and* savvy businessmen. And an factually unwarranted attribution as well.

      ReplyReply
    9. Randy says: 59

      Has any of you made the connection between the WMD deployed this week in Syria and the 50+ cargo planes and numerous truck convoys that Saddam sent to Syria on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom?

      ReplyReply
    10. WE ARE SO SAD TO HEAR THE DEATH OF THE SEVEN MARINES AND INJURY OF OTHER,
      WHY, I’M SUSPICIOUS TO WHO MADE THOSE SHELLS, WAS THE SHELL CRACKED? EVEN A TINY CRACK WOULD MAKE THE DIFFERENCE, WAS THE METAL MIX WITH A WEAK ALLOYED? AND WHERE DOES THE MORTAR
      COME FROM ? WHAT WAS THE MIX IN THE MORTAR?
      WAS THE HEAT FROM THE SUN WOULD CHANGE SOME ALOYED IN THE SHELL OR MORTAR?
      THERE IS MORE ACCIDENTS THAN EVER, WHY SO?
      WE HAVE HATERS IN AMERICA, WHERE DO THEY WORK?
      I heard about a plane crash happen because there was a nut missing,
      is that all it need to crash a plane?
      if so, you better check the maker of each componants from the minute piece to the biggest,
      check who have access to touch anything in the plane, check the employees background, their religion too yes for sure, there are young people disapearing we must check for the same source,
      remember the littel boy who was grab by a MUSLIM AND RAN AWAY, IF YOU SEE ONE THERE ARE OTHER, AND THERE IS AMERICANS WHO EMBRACE THE INDOCTRINATION OF FOREIGN RELIGION WHO AIM AT HURTINGAMERICANS, THEY MUST BE DISCOVER,
      c

      ReplyReply
    11. Randy
      do you think that someone could be able to pass go in airport
      with an amount of chimical weapon which could be lethal in AMERICA.
      could it be discover by the search done now,

      ReplyReply
    12. MataHarley says: 62

      @another vet, a belated thank you for the nice words. Sorry… not monitoring regularly, and definitely not with deliberate thoroughness.

      @Randy, I am one of those who believe that Saddam shipped off components and proscribed items in many different directions. The US certainly gave him ample time to clean house before the start of OIF.

      Between reading/owning Sada’s book, “Saddam’s Secrets”, and the UN MOVIC’s discovery of a missile that Saddam acquired post 1998-99 from the radiation readings & satellites, then dumped in a Netherlands junkyard – then topping it off with his black market abuse of the OFF – I believe that Syria was one of the destinations for his piecemeal-ed “Arab spring” cleaning of his WMD programs.

      However most people are not content with circumstantial evidence, and will settle for nothing less than a smoking gun or full confession. So it will remain a bone of contention for a very long time.

      However I’m not convinced that chem weapons were even used in Syria this past week. And if they were, it was not Assad’s military who used them. Let me ‘splain my reasoning… LOL

      First of all, the only evidence chemicals were involved comes from the claims of a Reuters photographer, who says some of the victims had breathing problems, and that there was a strong scent of chlorine.

      I’d say if a building blew up around you, breathing problems from debris etc would be expected, And I’m no expert in all the various chem WMDs, but I’m pretty sure that of those that actually have an odor, the only one that smells like chlorine is chlorine gas.

      I don’t know what type of building was involved in the rocket blast, and what was in it. It could have been a low budget makeshift chem lab, or perhaps a storage warehouse that stockpiled chlorine for legit purposes. It is a dual use type of product, commonly used for disinfectants, purifying drinking water, etc.

      So one possibility is that there was no chlorine gas involved, and the aroma in the aftermat was merely a byproduct of what was stored in that building.

      Chlorine gas is an outdated type of chemical weapon that hasn’t been used by nation/States since the early 20th Century and WWI. They’ve moved on to more sophisticated chemicals… sarins, mustard gases, tabun, VX, hydrogen sulfides, etc.

      Additionally, there is no record of Saddam ever using that chemical (he was accused of using mustard gas and nerve agents on the Kurds in the late 90s). I also doubt it was on his agenda to manufacture such a passe WMD. Therefore seems unlikely chlorine gas would be part of the possible shipments to Syria.

      On the flip side, the ones who *have* used chlorine gas is is AQ – in Iraq, 2006-07. See also here, and here.

      Ironic, don’t you think? That Syrian rebels, who have a large contingency of Islamists in their midst, claim that Assad used a low budget, rarely used early 1900s gas in a rocket on them, when the only ones who’ve used that chemical in recent times are those in their own ranks?

      Stinks to me…

      Both sides of the Syrian conflict dearly want chem weapons to be used… sorta… just enough to pull in the int’l community. Assad wants justification that he’s dealing with Islamist uprisings, and force is necessary. The rebels, want int’l aid in the form of weaponry and whatever else fools are willing to give them. So it’s no surprise they are both claiming a chem weapon was used, and pointing the fingers at each other.

      Until I saw what was in that building, I don’t acknowledge that a gas was even used. It’s too common a product, chlorine. But if it is documented it was a chem weapon using chlorine gas, history dictates that it was an AQ production, and Assad is correct.

      Me? Don’t care. I say let them all kill each other in the region, and we’ll deal with what’s left standing if necessary. Picking a winner between those dark horses is like choosing arsenic in your wine, or rat poison in your tea.

      ReplyReply
    13. another vet says: 63

      @MataHarley:

      However most people are not content with circumstantial evidence, and will settle for nothing less than a smoking gun or full confession.

      Even that wouldn’t be enough for the BDS people.

      ReplyReply
    14. Poppa_T says: 64

      @MataHarley:

      Hi Ms. Mata, I’m glad to see you’re still around, I had been starting to wonder. In my initial post I was merely seeking an opinion and as I said in my subsequent post I have no doubt that Saddam wanted WMD’s. I also firmly believe that every single nation in that area has ties to some terrorist organization and supports them either with funds, training or weapons. I also wholeheartedly agree with the last paragraph of your last post…


      “Me? Don’t care. I say let them all kill each other in the region, and we’ll deal with what’s left standing if necessary. Picking a winner between those dark horses is like choosing arsenic in your wine, or rat poison in your tea.”

      My position on this is has always been that I would rather have Saddam Hussein fighting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than us. Our response to 9/11 and our subsequent “War on Terror” has won us no friends in that part of the world and in fact has only served to alienate us from the rest of the world. Our invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and our subsequent support of the “Arab spring” in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, Jordan, etc..has done nothing to stabilize the area and in my opinion made matters worse.

      Yes I believe that we were initially lied to and manipulated into supporting these wars and the only ones who have benefited from our policies have been the corporations of the military industrial complex and oil and gas industries cause “we the people” sure haven’t. The past decade has made us no more secure and overall only served to encourage the expansion of a police state here. Where have the policies enacted since 9/11 led us? The DHS now considers the #1 terrorist threat to returning veterans, pro-lifers and various other “right-wing extremist groups“. Our current President could almost be considered the reigning leader of Al-Qaeda by continuing all the policies his predecessor put in place and in the long run the “war on terror” has only served to curtail our freedoms here. Don’t you think that all the aid and training he has sent them is reminiscent of policies that we tried before?

      And yes I still think that Iraqi oil and the fact that Saddam Hussein tried to assassinate Pres.Bush 41 had a lot to do with Pres. Bush 43’s decision to invade Iraq. They may not have been the deciding factors but they were factors. The path that has led us to where we are now as a Nation has only convinced me even more that “Crazy Uncle Ron” was right. Anyway, take care Ms. Mata, I look forward to you posting some more articles in the near future.

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    15. MataHarley says: 65

      @Poppa_T, yes sir… still around, tho engaging in a more healthy politics-to-life balance. I find my tolerance level low of late. I “retired” from the blog/opinion/post/comment world a couple of weeks before the election. Some may (or not) remember that my election choices were just as much dark horses as picking between Assad and the Syrian rebels.

      Thank you for looking forward to posts. I’ve been resisting. Mostly since it seems the readership is less interested in dealing with what we have, and prefers to vent on what we got, sans solutions. Like I said, my tolerance level is low. And while venting occasionally may be a healthy outlet, it doesn’t do much in the long run.

      I’m glad you came in with some clarification.

      My position on this is has always been that I would rather have Saddam Hussein fighting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than us. Our response to 9/11 and our subsequent “War on Terror” has won us no friends in that part of the world and in fact has only served to alienate us from the rest of the world.

      In some instances I may may agree with your general philosophy. I don’t think US intervention, interference, and general “community organizing” of another nation’s citizens to advocate overthrow of their leaders, scores us any points. Then again, I don’t think anything the US can do will score us points. It’s a lose-lose situation on all counts.

      Even our (quasi) Islamic nation allies aren’t mad for us. The difference between them and Saddam/Assad (and now Egypt), is that they tolerated us. My only criteria was not that we were loved, liked… hang even tolerated. It was that they would cooperate on intel and action against Islamist groups in their midst who did threaten us. That should be our only purpose with foreign policy. Not to be liked, but that they will be a co-op in intel and action beating down the bad guys.

      I think that when it came down to Iraq and Saddam, we have to agree to disagree. There was enough evidence in the run up to, and release of, the ISG/Harmony documents that Saddam was a covert, if not overt, ally with Islamists that served his own purpose. That purpose was two fold. He’d join forces with them for anything against the US and the west. And he appreciated they were a convenience chain to run black market goods thru, under the UN radar. This was substantiated with the above mentioned confiscated documents post OIF. So while he wasn’t a religious devotee partner in crime, he was a partner for political convenience.

      Iraq has a special place in the ME, being the possessor of both the most fresh water, plus substantial oil reserves. Both made it a geographical, and geopolitical, quest. Because of it’s single most import, I find that even a quasi-US friendly Iraq today is superior to a Saddam led Iraq of the past. To it’s rare credit, even both sides of the political aisle in Congress agreed. They just didn’t want to take the political repercussions for their agreement.

      I do not place Syria in the same position. I was also not willing to trade Musharraf or Mubarak for the illusion of “Arab spring”. And on that, you and I don’t disagree in the slightest.

      As for the rest, we’ll have to disagree. And we have nothing tangible on which to argue. You can’t say with any certainty what was in Bush’s heart INRE Saddam’s genuine threat vs the accusation of oil for profit because every factual event belies that.

      Nor can you say that had we left Saddam in place, and did nothing, we would be in a better place now.

      Nor can you claim that had we not gone into Iraq in 2003, we would be loved and respected today. The Islamists have given many excuses for their war against all things western and infidel… and it all goes back to our presence in Saudi Arabia… hence their declaration of war on the US under Clinton in 1998. None of that has anything to do with OIF in 2003.

      About the only thing we can be certain of is that today’s Iraq is far more US/western friendly than it was under Saddam. And had he be left in place, I don’t think he was about to experience any epiphanies.

      There is justification is saying you don’t like where we are today, but that is not necessarily confined just to Iraq/2003, or even Afghanistan. No one will disagree that life ain’t so rosy for the western nations and Islamic countries. But when it comes to Iraq, alone, we’re much better off than we were.

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    16. another vet says: 66

      @Poppa_T: I kind of figured you were a Ron P. supporter and not a lefty. I agree with most of what Paul advocates but am far more hawkish on ND, so other than ND, you and I would probably agree on just about everything else. While I don’t think we need to be everywhere, like getting involved in Libya’s civil war or Bosnia’s civil war before that (and I was in both Bosnia and Kosovo), I believe Afghanistan and Iraq were the right thing to do. I don’t feel that Bush lied to me or sent me into Iraq to avenge the threat on his father’s life or for oil. I also don’t have an issue with attacking terrorists in other countries with drones. It’s one of the few areas that I support Obama on.

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    17. another vet says: 67

      @mata:

      I find my tolerance level low of late. I “retired” from the blog/opinion/post/comment world a couple of weeks before the election.

      It must have been contagious because I was the same way and am still short on tolerance with the left and the pundits, both left and right.

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    18. another vet
      it reveal to us the people of AMERICA, THAT THE LEADER hold
      a big guilt in making THE PEOPLE angry,
      THEY ARE MAKING THEM ANGRY,
      AND IT REMIND ME THAT FATHER IN A GOVERNMENT OFFICE
      WITH HIS SON FIRST MOTORCYCLE , WAITING TO HAVE IT REGISTERED,
      THAT OFFICE SEND THEM BACK AND FOURTH TO OTHER AND SENT BACK WARD WITH NOTHING DONE,
      HE GOT ANGRY RIGHTFULLY AND HIS PEACEFULL OUTBURST ARE WORDS SAYING TO HIS SON. :
      NO WONDER SOME PEOPLE GET SHOT,
      THE CLERK CUT IN TO ARGUE IT WAS NOT RIGHT TO SAY IT, HE ANSWER, I’M TALKING TO MY SON, NOT YOUR BUSYNESS,
      SHE CALL THE POLICE WHO ARREST HIM,
      WHAT A STUPID CLERK OBAMIST EMPLOYEE ACHIEVE TO DO,
      HE LEFT MORE ANGRY AT THE WHOLE SYSTEM OF : WE ARE THE BOSS
      AND YOU MUST OBEY SILENTLY. THAT IS WHAT OBAMA IS SPREADING,
      IF THEY COME WITH KNIVES YOU BRING GUNS, VOTE FOR REVENGES, THE SEQUESTRE I OBAMA SENDING YOU WILL BRING ALL BAD THING TO YOU ALL CITIZEN OF AMERICA, AND WE WILL MAKE A LAW RESTRICTING YOUR GUN.
      THAT FATHER SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ARRESTED, HE WAS EXPRESSING THE STUPIDNESS OF THAT OFFICE, THE CLERK
      SHOULD BE FIRE,
      HE WAS RIGHT TO SAY WHAT MANY AMERICANS HAVE BEEN PUSH TO FEEL, you don’t talk to AMERICANS AS IF YOU TALK
      TO A BUNCH OF SHEEPS, THEY ARE A SUPERIOR BREED OF HUMAN, THAT’S THEIR LEGACY HANDED BY THEIR FATHER,
      A PROUD PEOPLE TO RESPECT AND SUPERIOR INTELLIGENCE WHO DON’T GET RULE BY IDIOT THUGS,
      WHY ARE WE SURPRISE TO HEAR SOME OUTBURST OF GUN SHOT, AFTER OBAMA CAMPAIGNS

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    19. Aqua says: 69

      @another vet:
      I think hindsight is 20/20 and I find myself rethinking a lot of what happened. Without a doubt, I think going into Iraq was one of the best strategic moves that was made. I think we had more than enough reason to invade, plus congressional support. Going into Iraq pulled most of Al Qaeda to us instead of digging them out of Afghanistan. I don’t think we were lied to, I still believe WMDs were convoyed out to Syria.
      I will be the first to admit that when we are attacked or even threatened, my first thought is to go to war. I don’t like bullies. But I read a piece about Dr. Ben Carson, and he called President Bush after 9/11 and said he told Bush to use this like a Kennedy Moon speech. Basically use the bully pulpit to say we would dedicate the decade to become energy independent and leave the Middle East to rot. The Saudis would have freaked out and found Bin Laden for us. But we would be energy independent by now.
      On the subject of military bases abroad, I’m not in complete agreement with the Ron Paul group. Although I have serious libertarian leanings, I believe we need to maintain some bases abroad, at least for now. I do think we need to do away with the Neo-Cons and their way of thinking. The republican party has generally been the party of peace.

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    20. another vet says: 70

      @Aqua:

      Without a doubt, I think going into Iraq was one of the best strategic moves that was made. I think we had more than enough reason to invade, plus congressional support. Going into Iraq pulled most of Al Qaeda to us instead of digging them out of Afghanistan. I don’t think we were lied to, I still believe WMDs were convoyed out to Syria.

      I concur on all your points. Iraq was a big defeat for AQ, not just militarily but on the PR end as well. Unfortunately in recent years they’ve been able to reconstitute elsewhere. A good strategy for us would be to identify the one or two most hot areas and then keep a rapid deployment force in the area along with the capability to reinforce in short time if necessary. We really don’t need to be in Europe anymore, at least not in big numbers. Let them manage their own defense. The Cold War has been over with for over 20 years. And if you look at the history of that continent, even a historical map is very telling, they are about ready to blow again. We don’t need to be there when it happens.

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    21. another vet says: 71

      @ilovebeeswarzone: It’s get in your face bullying tactics all the way.

      ReplyReply
    22. Greg says: 72

      @Randy, #59:

      Syria started it’s own chemical weapons program during the 1970s, and has been fully capable of mass producing and stockpiling their own chemical weapons for decades. Syria has 5 known chemical weapons production facilities, 2 of which are located at Scud missile base sites. Here’s a public list of known sites, if anyone is curious.

      Syria had no need of Iraqi chemical weapons or technology. They have more than enough of their own.

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    23. another vet
      if one don’t express his anger which is kept alive by OBAMA CAMPAIGNING
      THE PERSON WILL EXPRESS WITH OTHER WAYS, AND KEEPING IT INSIDE IS A SURE WAY TO GET ALL KIND OF CANCERS, WHICH LIKE A GIANT SPIDER IS EATING THE GUTS
      WHILE THE PERSON IS STILL ALIVE,
      SHOUT IT TO THE WIND UNTIL YOU FALL ON YOUR KNEES CRYING, PRAYING, SURVIVING,

      ReplyReply
    24. another vet says: 74

      @Greg: @Greg:

      Syria had no need of Iraqi chemical weapons or technology.

      The fact that Syria had its own WMD program in no way, shape, or form proves that they didn’t take in any WMD from Iraq.

      ReplyReply
    25. another vet
      SADDAM was in a hurry to get rid of it. and we remember he used it on the KURDS, AND HAD THE YOUNG LEADER SO WELL LIKE OUTSIDE ASSASINATE
      it must have been a cheap sales and all of them must have got some including LYBIA RUSSIA IRAN
      AND WHY NOT NORTH KOREA, EGYPT,
      BYE

      ReplyReply
    26. Greg says: 76

      @another vet, #74:

      The fact that Syria had its own WMD program in no way, shape, or form proves that they didn’t take in any WMD from Iraq.

      Nor would chemical weapons turning up in Syria in any way support the assertion that Saddam Hussein had existing weapons of mass destruction all along, which were whisked away across the border to keep them from being found.

      I think that’s what was being suggested in #59.

      ReplyReply
    27. I remember reading there was some chemical weapons dump in water,
      some where I don’t remember,
      those waters must be poison forever is in it?
      and the current must have carried those way into other source,
      that is scary to think that some other country would have a certain amount even the least of ie in their drinking water,

      ReplyReply

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