What Was Gained By Invading Iraq?


There’s an interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal (yet another one claiming that the war in Iraq is effectively over, and that the United States has won), and it brought to mind two interesting thoughts:

1) What was gained by invading Iraq
2) How long before people who opposed the invasion not only recognize success, but recognize what was gained?

In response to the first:

Perhaps it’s worth considering what we have gained now that Iraq looks like a winner. Here’s a partial list: Saddam is dead. Had he remained in power, we would likely still believe he had WMD. He would have been sitting on an oil bonanza priced at $140 a barrel. He would almost certainly have broken free from an already crumbling sanctions regime. The U.S. would be faced with not one, but two, major adversaries in the Persian Gulf. Iraqis would be living under a regime that, in an average year, was at least as murderous as the sectarian violence that followed its collapse. And the U.S. would have seemed powerless to shape events.
Instead, we now have a government that does not threaten its neighbors, does not sponsor terrorism, and is unlikely to again seek WMD. We have a democratic government, a first for the Arab world, and one that is increasingly capable of defending its people and asserting its interests.
We have a defeat for al Qaeda. Critics carp that had there been no invasion, there never would have been al Qaeda in Iraq. Maybe. As it is, thousands of jihadists are dead, al Qaeda has been defeated on its self-declared “central battlefield,” and the movement is largely discredited on the Arab street and even within Islamist circles.
We also have — if still only prospectively — an Arab bulwark against Iran’s encroachments in the region. But that depends on whether we simply withdraw from Iraq, or join it in a lasting security partnership.

…and the second?

None of these are achievements to sneer at, all the more so because they were won through so much sacrifice. Mr. Fukuyama has now granted the “narrow” point of our bet in the form of a personal check. Here’s betting him $100 back that he will come around to conceding the broader case for the war in Iraq — shall we say, on the 10th anniversary of its liberation?

Let’s be clear, the war in Iraq is not over, but there is great success, and the path toward ending the war there is very clearly on the right path. As to recognizing success? Well, given that for so many people opposition to the war was/is/will be merely a catalyst for expressing and venting dissatisfaction with President Bush…it seems unlikely that recognition of success brought about by the invasion will come anytime soon. However, recognizing post-invasion success will come about for many people in a mere 5 months if Senator Obama becomes President Obama. Take away opposition to President Bush, and the opposition to the war disappears for most people.

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Problem is they all want to die and we want to live. Seems we need a new warfare paradigm here. So we advertise that we have invaded some crappy little Arab nation, Iraq will do, Then we stage the latest, most sophisticated military in the world there with all sorts of hunter killer types, from the best trained troops to the best, most modern equipment and include some robotic forces, and we invite them all out to play. Give them have what they want and we get to test and improve our troops, equipment, tactics and so on while they volunteer to be targets. When the jihadis get tired of that, let’s all go somewhere else where there is a similar lack of respect for life and lots of open territory and repeat the experiment. If Darwin was right there will eventually be a very limited bunch of self destructive targets and we can mop this crap all up.

Better we do it in some wide open theater of operations on foreign soil rather than within our borders, the environmental impact statement stateside alone would make such operations prohibitive. Besides that, the politicians would get really pissed if we got the American population involved in such a demonstration of American firepower.

Once you put it in that frame of mind it just doesn’t sound so bad, now does it?

I mean except for the liberals getting all pissy about it not being the way they want it to be and all. But then I just can’t remember a time when everybody was happy about kicking the crap out of our mortal enemies, and the liberals are not at all happy about that situation now. What ever can we do to make the liberals happy except claim defeat and run home to wait for the jihadis to come over here to play.

The liberals would really scream when their precious lives and families are being scraped up off the streets along with some suicidal jihadi. Just no pleasing some people.

“If Iraq is the new training ground of AQ jihadists, then what …[are they]… learning, and what …[have they]… trained for,…[?]” — Dc

Dying gracelessly?

“Used to [be], you kill a couple of Americans and they would withdraw.” — Dc

Actually, the Dems would put ’em in harms way, then withdraw them and blame whatever went wrong on the Reps.

It’s not the troops who choose to run, it’s the politicians who make them, and in so doing harm them, the mission and the country.


The article appeared in WaPo. It quotes a CIA report. Sorry, I’m not on the CIA distro list.

With all the talk of victory on the horizon, there are still 200 attacks per week. Yes, that’s down from 1200 per week a year ago, but somebody is still fighting us in Iraq.


Meat jello – I like that. Unfortunately, far too many of our troops are also meat jello or vegetables with traumatic brain injuries. See above for current attacks per week. Again, somebody is still fighting us. Stop beating your chest and waiving the giant foam rubber finger for a minute and think about it.


Not so deep thinking there, bro. You’ve seen “I Robot” a few too many times. And by the way, although I know you don’t give a rat’s ass, that “crappy little Arab country” comment is part of our problem. The people in the Middle East know far too many people in the US think like that.
Does that explain jihad, no, but it does explain why we have so much trouble getting diplomatic traction in that part of the world.

Dave Noble;

No one has ever accused you of having a sense of humor have they? Not much to back such an assertion is there?


“Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation” — DN

As usual, the MSM cherry picks the NIS (or equivalent) and Dave gobbles it up.

And during WWII the Pacific Theater was the “training ground” for the next generation of Japanese fighters, and the European Theater was the “training ground” for the next generation of German and Italian fighters, etc., etc.

I guess we shouldn’t have fought that war, either?

But, guess what! Iraq is ALSO the training ground for the next generation of American fighters. And they are getting REALLY efficient at taking the foreign enemies that the ignoble ones want us to fear, and turning them into “puppy chow.”


or, …Darwin working overtime?

Dave, I’m acutely aware that people are still fighting in Iraq. I could hear the radio chatter in the background of the conference call I referenced earlier. Still, 1/6th the number of weekly attacks DOES deserve praise, thanks, and adoration-foam fingers if ya got em. Take a look at who is doing the attacking. It’s not AQI. It’s remnants of all the major insurgent forms-some AQI, but they’re gig was suicide bombings aimed at killing civilians to destroy US political will and use sympathy as a means of getting the US out. It failed. There’s still some suicide attacks now, but the head of AQI has fled Iraq for Afghanistan (reportedly-WaPo btw), so too are many AQI leaders who were not Baathists as well. Foreign fighter influx from Syria has been dramatically reduced (interestingly enough, that was done in large or greater part by Iraqi, Central American, Eastern European, undisclosed allies, and Iraqi Special Operations Forces than it was by US SOFs).

The greatest accomplishment of the invasion of Iraq will be when the US leaves, and Iraq is secure and stable (Obama’s pledge). Then and only then can the Jihadis stop using it as an excuse for their death cult as they did before 911, before invading Iraq, and since (albeit with the sympathy/concurrance of US political opponents here in the US in the case of the latter).

Hey Dave,
I’ll put down my rubber finger if you’ll take off your code pink Tshirt and put down your No Blood for Oil sign. 🙂

Congrats on being mildly observant (we are still over there, war is tough, people get hurt and people die on both sides), while still missing the point — THEY have lost in Iraq and their larger organization has been hammered, and they are fleeing there in utter defeat.

And I hope I wasn’t the only one who noticed the WP article you posted to support your opinions about what is going on in Iraq was from 2005??

No, Yon, there are a lot of reasons we shouldn’t have fought this war. That it is a training ground for AQ is just one of the negative byproducts of that mistake.

Dc – If it was a training ground for AQ in 2005, does the effect of that training disappear in a puff of smoke? If it was a training ground in 2005, wasn’t it also a training ground in the bloody years that followed? Logic, Dc, logic.

You radically and blithely underestimate the consequences of this war. Meanwhile, you mouth the Bush mantra of declaring victory. When is AQ really going to be “on the run?” We heard that from VP Cheney years ago. 200 attacks per week in an occupation and you call that victory. That’s like the guy who use to smoke 3 packs a day and now is down to a half a pack a day saying he’s won his battle over smoking. You know what? Bush is a lame duck. If you want to convince yourself that it was all worth it, enjoy yourself. Whup it up. We”ll see what history does to the Bush legacy. What I care about is that we start withdrawing our troops, carefully and intelligently.


“(albeit with the sympathy/concurrance of US political opponents here in the US in the case of the latter).”

That AQ uses Iraq as an “excuse” for recruitment and that I, or other opponents of the war, or the CIA, acknowledges that fact does not in any way mean we sympathize or concur with AQ.

You mistake empirical observation for moral approval. It’s a much-used rhetorical sleight of hand. Only dumb people buy it. And I don’t think you’re dumb, so I’m wondering who your audience is.

I think you’d find that the idea of training in Iraq and then fighting elsewhere is a limited one-for a number of reasons. First, a person doesn’t need a lotta training to be a suicide bomber, and that’s what most of the Al Queda group recruits do: suicide bombings. Second, the idea that Iraq is somehow via recruitment and/or training making the fight w Al Queda bigger and harder is in direct contradiction to the idea that the fight in Iraq has never had anything to do w AQ and/or that it’s not mostly AQ who is the enemy in Iraq. If Al Queda groups are just a small portion of the enemy (standard talking point for opponents of the war), then similarly very few are getting training in Iraq, and still fewer survive that training (there’s no do-overs for suicide bombers). On the other hand, if Al Queda is training en masse in Iraq, then the fight w Al Queda is in Iraq just as the fight w NAZI Germany was in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, etc.

And don’t even start w the “Al Queda was never in Iraq until Bush invaded” kneejerk talking point. We know now from former regime detainees, from AQ detainees, from authenticated and captured regime documents (HARMONY collection among others) and from captured AQ documents (SINJAR collection among others) that yes, Al Queda groups were in Iraq before the invasion, did work extensively with the regime, and were planning attacks on the west.

So let’s recap:
Al Queda recruits certainly get some training in Iraq (as they do in Afghanistan), but it’s not at all like the easy, formal training they got pre911 in Afghanistan, and if they didn’t get it in Iraq…they’d get the training in Afghanistan.
Al Queda recruitment: 1) there’s no way to confirm if it’s increased or decreased because of invasion because there’s no way to know how many there were before/after. The only thing that’s clear is that before the invasion…they could recruit middle class, educated men. Now, they’re increasingly recruiting the poor, the uneducated, women, children, and the recuits are less and less willing to do suicide bombings (so much so that they now have to trick recruits into carrying bombs to targets.

Now, you mentioned verbal sleight of hand (such as the inferrence you made that the entire CIA somehow agrees with you that invading Iraq has increased recruitment post invasion). My audience is those people who oppose the war and echo the same conspiracy theories as Osama Bin laden:
-that the war was all about oil (it’s a reason, but lower on the list)
-that it is a private Bush family vendetta
-that it was pre-planned and pre-determined in 2001
-that it’s an evil American corporate scheme to imperialize the Middle East
-that it was all done for Haliburton profits
-that Saddam was never an asymetric threat
-that Saddam was never a WMD threat
-that Saddam’s regime would never work w AQ groups
-that Iraq had nothing to do w 911 (I refer again to the 911 Commission that said 2/3 of the AQ casus belli were in re to the US war on Iraq; the 91-01 war on Iraq was the reason for 911, and bolstered recruitment in that period)

the list of lies goe on and on and on. I could easily take many of UBL’s speeches, mesh them with those of Kucinich or Dean or Pelosi and the corroboration of propaganda is shocking.

My audience is the fools who believe that bs and then spew the same bs that Al Queda uses as propaganda.

If we don’t fight the Al Qaeda monsters in Iraq “they won’t get the combat training there.” So what?! They’ll just go to afghanistan, or wherever else the fighting is to get it there. Or, if there’s no fighting, they”ll just skip the training and move to Manhatten. Muckmudd Ata was trained for the evil he did in Florida, remember.

Scott, excellent elucidation of what their “points” are, and where they get them.

Dc – If it was a training ground for AQ in 2005, does the effect of that training disappear in a puff of smoke?

Yep….meat jello. The point is, you have failed to acknowledge the dramatic changes that have taken place in Iraq..and instead…stick to your old mantra talking points that you have no choice but to use old opinion articles to back up.

Did we create more terrorists and give them training by invading Afghanistan? Logic Dave, logic.


Remember it’s the smart terrorists who benefited from the training. They don’t die. They survive to fight another day,

And you really ought to stop the “meat jello” crap. Unless you’ve personally been in combat, a possibility I don’t discount, that’s a pretty heartless stateside machoism.

I don’t deny the progress we’ve made. I think you overemphasize it and prematurely declare victory.

Re: Afghanistan. That was a war that made sense like WWII. Pls note my response to Yon.

I saw plenty of meat jello on 9/11 my friend. Took some home with me…..in my hair.

The war in Iraq has done more damage to AlQueda and other salafist movements (worldwide) than the war in Afghanistan has. The “training camps” that are left are in Pakistan…where they send young, idealistic EU college students for “summer camp”.

REPOST OF TWO TO ANOTHER WEBSITE (TheSpectator – in resp., to an article by Melanie Phillips)

I put these up a while ago, but they are just as relevant now as they were then.


As John at Powerline says, “Over the last five years, we have witnessed something remarkable: our principal news media outlets have fabricated an alternative reality around the Iraq war by simply misreporting the facts. They have done this in order to advance their own political agenda.” —

But despite the fact that the lies against Bush can be shown to be false, most Lefties everywhere keep repeating them. Apparently they cannot think for themselves, nor are they abel to follow any arguments that contrast the lies with the truth. Very sad.

To his credit, David Kay did not lie for them, which is probably why they didn’t bother following up on his first hand accounts but rather went with the lies concocted by the Left.

[TB:=Tom Brokaw]
[DK:=David Kay]

TB: The president described Iraq as a gathering threat — a gathering danger. Was that an accurate description? ___

DK: I think that’s a very accurate description. ___

TB: But an imminent threat to the United States? ___ Mr. Bush NEVER used the term “imminent threat,” but others, among them John Edwards, DID.

DK: Tom, an imminent threat is a political judgment. It’s not a technical judgment. I think Baghdad was actually becoming more dangerous in the last two years than even we realized. [so, if invasion was justifed by what we thought, and it turned out to be WORSE than we thought, …(do the math, genius!)] Saddam was not controlling the society any longer. In the marketplace of terrorism and of WMD, Iraq well could have been that supplier if the war had not intervened. ___
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4066462/ ___
And, yes, David Kay even says that some WMD may have been shipped out and/or even hidden in Iraq, and that the intent was to reconstitute the WMD programs as soon as it was possible. ___
http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/10/02/kay.report/ ___
. . . .

1. the only reasons people think the Iraq war wasn’t necessary are that they believe the lies they’ve been told by the Left, including the Leftist media, and they refuse to abandon those lies when they are shown to be false.

2. The World IS a safer place today because Saddam is gone.

ACTUALLY, DAVE NOBLE IS (are you ready for this?) CORRECT – SORT OF.

The “smart terrorist” vs the “dumb Kafir”

Looks like “smart terrorists” sometimes DO “win,” and when the reality looks like the video above you know that the lunatics are running the asylum. But, unfortunately for Dave, those lunatics are the very people he supports.

Or, to put it another way, the reason the terrorists are “winning” anywhere is because they are “smarter” than your average Lefty. Dave, dude, you better be a prayin real hard that Darwin is wrong!
“But, Ahmed, he was our leader! I thought he was smart, and the smart ones aren’t supposed to get killed.” — Razool

“Yes, I know, Razool. I haven’t seen my therapist in months, and my angst is worse than ever. I mean, why does an idiot like yourself survive when we are losing our leaders? It makes no sense.” — Ahmed


AQ “did work *extensively* with the regime, and were planning attacks on the west.”

Substantiate that please. Who suggests that AQ was working “extensively” with Saddam’s regime.

Here’s what the Harmony Project actually says:

“But the relationships between Iraq and the groups advocating radical pan-Islamic doctrines are much more complex. This study found *no “smoking gun”* (i.e., direct connection) between Saddam’s Iraq and al Qaeda. Saddam’s interest in, and support for, non-state actors was spread across a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic terrorist organizations. Some in the regime recognized the potential high internal and external costs of maintaining relationships with radical Islamic groups, yet they concluded that in some cases, the benefits of association outweighed the risks.”


I asked you who your audience was for your statement that opponents of the war sympathize and concur with AQ and you tell me your audience is those same people.
That simply makes no sense. If they are so benighted as to sympathize with AQ, why bother to talk to them? Let me put it simply. I oppose the war. I neither sympathize nor concur with AQ. I merely recognize that our presence in Iraq serves as a recruiting tool for them.


Here’s what David Kay really said:

“Information found to date suggests that Iraq’s large-scale capability to develop, produce, and fill new CW munitions was reduced — *if not entirely destroyed* — during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox, 13 years of UN sanctions and UN inspections. We are carefully examining dual-use, commercial chemical facilities to determine whether these were used or planned as alternative production sites. “

From your site: http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/10/02/kay.report/

And further if WMD were moved to Syria, we failed in our effort to secure WMD within Iraq subsequent to our invasion.

Re: Your AQ Therapist Fantasy

Your first source addressed terrorists leaders killed in Iraq, assuming the veracity of the source. The leader in your second source was not killed in the “central front of the war on terrorism” in Iraq. He was killed in Pakistan – our “strong ally” who was harboring him and thus according to President Bush’s own definition is our enemy. Please also listen carefully to the report’s reference to Pakistan as a “safe haven” for AQ and to the observation that this being the first AQ leader to be killed in two years “speaks volumes about Al Queada’s ability to operate with *near impunity* in Pakistan’s tribal areas.”


I am sorry for your trauma on 9/11. I watched the towers come down from across the river. I share your rage. But I respectfully suggest you have been sold a bill of goods, my friend. Saddam is gone, but Ossama Bin Laden is alive and well (though “Wanted Dead or Alive”) somewhere in Pakistan, our “strong ally” in the GWOT.


Sorry, Dave, the destruction of Saddams CURRENT CW [=Chemical Weapon] capability was NOT what was important. When Saddam had every intention, as I pointed out earlier, to reconstitute what had been lost of that and other programs, and when those knowledgable of a LOT MORE than just CW in his regime STILL HAD the know how and were willing to sell it to the TERRORISTS who WERE in country, as well as to those who were on their way, as Kay said in the far more relevant quote I gave.

What have we found and what have we not found in the first 3 months of our work?

We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002. The discovery of these deliberate concealment efforts have come about both through the admissions of Iraqi scientists and officials concerning information they deliberately withheld and through physical evidence [THAT’S ACTUALLY THERE, AND NOT DESTROYED, DAVE!] of equipment and activities that ISG has discovered that should have been declared to the UN. Let me just give you a few examples of these concealment efforts, some of which I will elaborate on later:

· A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment subject to UN monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW research.

· A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW agents, that Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the UN.

· Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist’s home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons.

· New research on BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the UN.

· Documents and equipment, hidden in scientists’ homes, that would have been useful in resuming uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS).

· A line of UAVs not fully declared at an undeclared production facility and an admission that they had tested one of their declared UAVs out to a range of 500 km, 350 km beyond the permissible limit.

· Continuing covert capability to manufacture fuel propellant useful only for prohibited SCUD variant missiles, a capability that was maintained at least until the end of 2001 and that cooperating Iraqi scientists have said they were told to conceal from the UN.

· Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1000 km — well beyond the 150 km range limit imposed by the UN. Missiles of a 1000 km range would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets through out the Middle East, including Ankara, Cairo, and Abu Dhabi.

· Clandestine attempts between late-1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300 km range ballistic missiles –probably the No Dong — 300 km range anti-ship cruise missiles, and other prohibited military equipment.

In addition to the discovery of extensive concealment efforts, we have been faced with a systematic sanitization of documentary and computer evidence in a wide range of offices, laboratories, and companies suspected of WMD work. The pattern of these efforts to erase evidence — hard drives destroyed, specific files burned, equipment cleaned of all traces of use — are ones of deliberate, rather than random, acts.


And never mind that Iraqis were firing on US and British patrols of the no-fly zones almost daily, hardening their command and control, buying ant-aircraft weapons from China, etc., etc.

As to Pakistan, Are you suggesting that we now go to war with them, too? That would be a bit too contrary, even for you. The point is, we are NOT neglecting the war there, either, Dave, …but what I was addressing with that specific video was your stupid “smart terrorists don’t get killed,” nonsense. (You have to spell it out for them, and they STILL don’t get it!)

Dave Noble #67

You’re using the McClatchy version of reporting on the Iraq Perspectives Report… i.e. pulling the favorite liberal paragraph out because it’s the only one that softens the blow of his deep dealings with jihad terrorist groups. It also enhances the fatal flaw liberal progressives have INRE the global battle with jihad movements… they think the enemy only goes by the name Al Qaeda.

Thus you’re trying to play the “gotcha” word game of al Qaeda and Saddam. The undisputable link between the two is Saddam’s long term relationship with al Zawahiri… back to his EIJ days.

So for the more pertinent language to “substantiate that claim”, get past the preface and into the nitty gritty of the report. And you reference only a Cato news analysis of the original 94 page document. From pg 62:

Saddam’s interest in, and support for, non-Iraqi non-state actors was
spread across a wide variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic terrorist organizations. For years, Saddam maintained training camps for foreign “fighters” drawn from these diverse groups. In some cases, particularly for Palestinians, Saddam was also a strong financial supporter. Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or that generally shared al Qaeda’s stated goals and 97

From the conclusion:

One question remains regarding Iraq’s terrorism capability: Is there anything in the captured archives to indicate that Saddam had the will to use his terrorist capabilities directly against United States? Judging from examples of Saddam’s statements (Extract 34) before the 1991 Gulf War with the United States, the answer is yes. Extract 34.

Zawahiri merged his EIJ… which worked directly with Saddam… with OBL’s AQ by 1998, when they issued the World Islamic Front Statement of 1998. Did Zawahiri have a massive change of heart and drop his goal of returning Egypt to an Islamic state because of merging with AQ? No. Did he develop a new taste of jihad by joining AQ? Again no. The man who merged EIJ with AQ in the late 90s is the same man Saddam had been dealing with since he came to power in the EIJ in 1993.

This brings to mind two questions. Do you believe that just because Zawahiri merged with AQ, Saddam instantly found him unworthy as a business partner? And is dealing extensively with Zawahiri the same as dealing extensively with AQ in your eyes? Or is that EIJ badge Zawahiri was wearing in the early days getting in the way of your analysis?

That’s one of the “gotcha” games people so like to play. Here’s the other one.

Saddam supported groups that he knew either “associated directly with” or “generally shared” AQ’s stated goals. If he provides them with finances or weaponry, knowing they can and will work with AQ in achieving the same goals, is that supporting AQ?

Not technically, no. He didn’t write out the palace check to AQ, or ship to the AQ arsenal warehouse. But then that’s generally absurd. If I buy an HP printer from Best Buy, write my check to Best Buy but know full well they are giving money to HP, am I also doing business with HP?

Now it comes down to what is more important to you… playing gotcha word games by semantics in order to support a hatred for the Bush administration. Or recognizing that the intel we couldn’t prove then – that so many say is wrong – was actually correct and proven so thru the Harmony/ISG documents found post OIF.

The WMD is the media and Congressional campaign rallying cry. When the AUMF was signed, there was something like 23 “whereas” reasons for using force. Only 7-8 of them had to do with WMD. It became the centerplate because it was the most logical to solicit the int’l community in the UNSC. We should, of course, know the lack of will of the “int’l community” by now.

But this brings me to your terribly absurd statement:

And further if WMD were moved to Syria, we failed in our effort to secure WMD within Iraq subsequent to our invasion.

UNMOVIC and satellite images documented the movement and stripping clean of monitored facilities *before* OIL and coalition troops entered Iraq. Pray tell, how can we fail to secure WMD when we were not yet there. The man had about 3 months to do house cleaning with the warnings…


First off, I don’t hate the Bush administration. I oppose the unnecessary and tragic Iraq war and hold the President and his Administration responsible. Further the Cato Institute would be very upset if you told them they were a liberal institution. Finally, I didn’t know there were different versions of official Pentagon reports.

It seems to me that the quote was pretty definitive and unequivocal – “No smoking gun.” Seems to me that you should have a smoking gun to go to war and not the convoluted reasoning you are forced to employ. You and I have discussed on this site Pakistan’s support of terrorist groups before and since 9/11. Why didn’t we go to war against them? They didn’t attack us on 9/11 either and they’re right next door to Afghanistan. Further, they have full-up nuclear technology to provide to terrorists and rogue states. AQ Khan has already done just that. Now he sits comfortably at home looking at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. Possibly he and UBL are sharing a flat.

No comment re: David Kay’s statement about WMD?

Which brings me to my purportedly terribly absurd statement:

The issue isn’t timing, you’re attacking a strawman again. Whether they were moved before, during, or after the invasion – we missed them. And if they were moved before the invasion – Why the hell did we invade?
Oh, I remember – Al Quaeda. Or was it nation-building? Or was it promoting democracy? Or was it the central front in the GWOT? You’ll have to excuse me, it’s changed so many times I’ve lost track.

Wait, I know. It was “weapons of mass destruction-related program activities” (Yes, I know David Kay said it, but the WH adopted it.)

Mike typed:

‘P.S. Jake: We lost Vietnam because DEMOCRATS forced us to abandon the fight just as we are winning’

One of the great myths driving Republican politics these past thirty odd years.

We last in Vietnam because we backed the wrong side in the wrong war.

Dave, I don’t want nor need your sympathy. Save it for Saddam and the Jihadists.

Perhaps it’s because of your willful ignorance that you cannot bring yourself to comprehend more than one thing at a time, that you separate everything out into individual strawmen to kick and set on fire

Dave… first I didn’t call CATO, which I well know is a libertarian think tank, a liberal organization. Where do you get that??

In fact, what I said was you are using the McClatcy liberal reporting tricks by singling out a paragragh that, when read alone, totally misrepresents the entire report. I blogged on McClatchy’s prerelease BS reports on this study just prior to my FA author days…

There are actually a series of Iraq Perspective reports… this was is labeled “Vol 1” and they refer to other volumes in it. I have the original 94 pg PDF archived on my computer because the ABC link – which I provided in my response to you – download takes so dang much time.

However your link is just to a CATO op-ed talking about the report with a few excerpts. It’s an entirely different matter reading the entire 94 page report.

I’m going to assume from your sticking to your guns on the “unequivocal quote” of “no smoking gun” that Saddam’s dealings with Zawahiri for a decade means nothing to you. Nor his known association with terrorist organizations that deal with AQ.

So again you bring up Pakistan as an example. This truly is getting old, Dave.

Pakistan PRIOR to 911 was no Muslim ally. That happened under GWB and after 911. Who knows what tact would have been taken if, post 911, they did not agree to cooperate. But they did, and the US does not invade countries who’s governments formally take a stand to aid the US in intel and the GWOT.

And that is, quite simply, the difference between Pakistan and Iraq. Pakistan turned in a Muslim ally, Iraq remained defiant in the fact of 17 UN resolutions. Add to that Clinton’s regime change policy in the Iraqi Freedom Act in the mid 90s, the the pieces fall quite logically into place.

Which brings me to my purportedly terribly absurd statement:

The issue isn’t timing, you’re attacking a strawman again. Whether they were moved before, during, or after the invasion – we missed them. And if they were moved before the invasion – Why the hell did we invade?

If they were moved by Saddam, they were moved to places where we would not find them, and that he could recover them.

If you want to know *why* the Congressional majority signed the AUMF and thereby “why the hell did we invade”, I suggest you reread the resolution yourself, Dave. You err in depending upon the news soundbytes to dictate the reasoning for regime change, whittling it down to one convenient three letter expression. In reality, it was for many reasons. That the news didn’t inform you of all, or made it seem it was a revolving door of reasons, does not excuse you for knowing all the specifics. So you may want to refresh your memory.

And try not to give the DNC Congress a pass when they say “I didn’t vote for war” when the damn thing was named “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution 2002”. If they didn’t read the “whereas” clauses included, there’s no excuse for not reading the name of the resolution.

You want more David Kay? Ah, an old subject from my Sea2Sea archives. His report was fall 2003. Here’s some excerpts from an exclusive interview with the London Telegraph in Jan 2004:

In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Dr Kay, who last week resigned as head of the Iraq Survey Group, said that he had uncovered evidence that unspecified materials had been moved to Syria shortly before last year’s war to overthrow Saddam.

“We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons,” he said. “But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam’s WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved.”

What WMD programme? I thought he didn’t *have* a WMD programme? DOH!

From another famous “no WMD” proponent, Charles Duelfer in his testimony April 2004:

What is clear is that Saddam retained his notions of the use of force and had experience that demonstrated the utility of WMD. He was making progress in eroding sanctions and, had it not been for the events of 9-11-2001, things would have taken a different course for the Regime. Most senior members of the Regime and scientists assumed that the programs would begin in earnest when sanctions ended—and sanctions were eroding.

All of which leaves me wondering just what you want me to say about WMD.

1: You can not point definitively to facts proving that he did *not* possess proscribed weapons and a reconstitutable (and will to do so) WMD program.

2: Duelfer and Kay dance with many words… “unable to rule out the possibility”, “based on the evidence *available*”, “unable to rule out unofficial movement”… all language in amendments with Duelfer’s 92 page addendum in March 2005 to his testimony and report. None of which says he did not possess a workable and reconstitutable WMD program. It merely says they can’t find enough evidence to fulfill your smoking gun wish.

While, on the other hand, we can point to:

1: documents and facts that proves Saddam had acquired proscribed weapons after 1998, and abandoned them in a Netherlands junkyard just prior to OIF.

2: We also have even the above naysayers stating he was busy eroding sanctions, and had the will to reconstitute his CW/BW – all WMD programs.

3: Harmony/ISG documents his relationship with terrorists as an unofficial state weapon.

The difference between you and I is you read the above and see “not enuf reason”, and I look at the above and see “can’t take the chance post 911”. That disparity between you and I will never change. It is the very foundation of our disagreement.

So do I think we were correct to remove the Saddam regime and allow Iraq to put in their own Arab democracy? You bet. Because I can read between the lines, and do not wait for a smoking gun to see the potential.

You say you oppose the war “I merely recognize that our presence in Iraq serves as a recruiting tool for them. “. That’s explains your opposition today. And why did you oppose it at the start? Because you didn’t believe, or feel there was enough proof for the single rally cry of WMD?

History has proven the intel and gut feelings the Admin had were correct. Saddam was doing business with jihad terrorists. Saddam was attempting to reconstitute his WMD/CW/BW programmes and actively working to thwart sanctions. Those two alone… despite the rest of the whereas reasons, were quite enough.

Dave Noble, nobly continues to wage his battle against the demons of his own creation. Pity those demons.

“finally, I didn’t know… — Dave Noble

The only thing I’ve heard him say that makes any sense. Too bad he had to keep typing and spoil it.


“The difference between you and I is you read the above and see “not enuf reason”, and I look at the above and see “can’t take the chance post 911″. That disparity between you and I will never change. It is the very foundation of our disagreement.”

That’s it in a nutshell, Mata.

That is so succinct, insightful, and accurate, I will close our discussion for now.


When Dave Gnoebbels speaks, weasles harken, and snarl in assent.

Here’s a group shot of Dave, and some of his friends.

Dave Noble #67:


AQ “did work *extensively* with the regime, and were planning attacks on the west.”

Substantiate that please. Who suggests that AQ was working “extensively” with Saddam’s regime.

Here’s what the Harmony Project actually says:

“But the relationships between Iraq and the groups advocating radical pan-Islamic doctrines are much more complex. This study found *no “smoking gun”* (i.e., direct connection) between Saddam’s Iraq and al Qaeda. Saddam’s interest in, and support for, non-state actors was spread across a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic terrorist organizations. Some in the regime recognized the potential high internal and external costs of maintaining relationships with radical Islamic groups, yet they concluded that in some cases, the benefits of association outweighed the risks.”



Unlike the McClatchy Reporter who never bothered to actually read the five-volume Iraqi Perspectives Project when he wrote his piece, let alone the exclusive summary as the report hadn’t even been released yet, and he received leaked portions from a Pentagon official, Scott actually went through all 1600 pages of the study, after USJFCOM decided to release all five volumes, when reporters were getting it wrong. Please go through and read:

Pentagon Report Confirms Saddam’s Regime Supported al Qaida

No Ties Between Saddam and Al Queda Network of Terrorist Groups

Saddam’s files show terror plots but raise new questions about some media claims

Scott’s written extensively on this, and I might have missed a few of his posts. He’s also researched extensively on such links, in general. As has Mark Eichenlaub

Your Cato link charges neoconservatives with “cherry-picking” from the study; yet that’s exactly what the Cato article did, even as it conceded a few points of argument.

The boundaries between one terror group from another becomes blurred, and really we should be calling them “al Qaeda network” or “al Qaeda and affiliates“. There are cross-overs, with shared funding and training, and shared common interests and objectives. “Ansar al Islam” is not the same name as “al Qaeda”, yet according to one of its captured operatives, it’s essentially bin Laden’s group. So really, when speaking of Ansar al Islam, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and al Qaeda, is there really much of a distinction?

The whole statement, “there were no (operational) ties between Saddam and al Qaeda” obfuscates Administration claims to begin with, shifting the goal posts. Please note the following:

“Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”
-President Bush in an address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, United States Capitol, Washington D.C., September 20, 2001.

Dave Noble writes #70:

Finally, I didn’t know there were different versions of official Pentagon reports.

There aren’t. But as in the case of the final Senate Select Committee on Intell’s phase II report, it’s was largely misrepresented by a lazy media who piggybacks upon an established narrative of “Bush lied”.

It seems to me that the quote was pretty definitive and unequivocal – “No smoking gun.” Seems to me that you should have a smoking gun to go to war and not the convoluted reasoning you are forced to employ.

Please point me to the quote where President Bush said there was an operational link between Iraq and al Qaeda, as well as the one where President Bush said Saddam had anything to do with the planning of the events of 9/11. Where was that pushed as an official justification, in one of the major speeches, for war by this President?

Finally….what MH said 😉

Near as I can tell this conversation has gone on for days, but I think I can boil it down to a few words.

Was somebody else born in a perfect world? I wasn’t.

I have some real qualms with somebody wanting absolute justice for going to war. It’s a lot like some silk suit lawyer asking the defendant on the stand in a criminal case, “So, how did you know the deceased was going to stab you, I mean besides the crazy look, the swear words and a knife in his hand?” Fact is, you don’t really know what a person will do until they do it, but if you wait, you could be dead. Or not. But as near as I can tell from actual experience, you shouldn’t bet on hindsight in those cases.

It is at that point in the conversation in front of the jury that I would grab the silk suit lawyer by the necktie, drag him real close to my face and ask him “Do you know what I am going to do next, Shithead?”

The judge would of course go fairly snakeshit, but the jury, if they were a jury of my peers, would get the point.

And so it goes.

Dave, I want to thank you (sincerely), and offer my genuine applause at doing some research for post #67. I wanted to respond yesterday, but don’t have the time this weekend. I’ll try to if I get back early enough. In the interim, could you explain some of the stuff in the post of mine that you addressed, but seemed to miss? I’m referring specifically to the question of whether or not AQ was a substantial or small part of the insurgency? This is important because if they were a small part of the insurgency (some said only 1-10% of insurgents), and only a fraction of the AQ fighters were not suicide bombers, then the issue of AQ getting training in Iraq refers to only a “fraction” of a “small” number of people. ON THE OTHER HAND, if AQ was a substantial part of the insurgency, and only a few of the AQ fighters were not suicide bombers, then the issue is about a few AQ getting training in Iraq. My point is that the question of AQ training in Iraq is directly parallel to the size/importance of fighting AQ in Iraq (as if they wouldn’t get training in Afghanistan if there was no invasion of Iraq).

Gotta go-late already


You ask a good question. To reiterate, my original comment about Iraq being a training ground for jihadists was a response to a comment that we were killing all AQ’s valuable fighters in Iraq. If they were valuable fighters and we killed them, they weren’t suicide bombers. Further, I reassert that the battlefield is a training ground where those who survive – the truly valuable fighters – learn from combat. I don’t see how that is arguable. Now, as to the makeup of the insurgency. My layman’s understanding is that it is a mixture of foreign jihadists, home-grown resistance, remnants of Saddam’s army that faded away during the invasion, “day laborers” in it for the money, and criminals. I do not have access to the intelligence that reflects the current proportions of each. Gen. Abizaid a while back reported the small percentage for jihadists that you cite. For the sake of argument let’s assume that is the correct approximate proportion. Then, as you point out, the numbers of jihadists potentially trained in Iraq is relatively small. But that also then contradicts the assertion that Iraq is the “central front in the GWOT.” Do you think AQ is sending its best fighters and military leaders to Iraq to be decimated by our devastating war machine? If I were them I would be sending my new recruits and treating Iraq as live fire basic training. The best of those recruits survive and learn from their experience and are then available to be used elsewhere.

Meanwhile, AQ is reconstituting in Pakistan and Afghanistan.