TCS Daily


Unintelligent Intelligence

By Pejman Yousefzadeh - July 25, 2007 12:00 AM


This past week, the intelligence community released the latest declassified National Intelligence Report (NIE) on terrorist threats against the United States. Its release and the coverage concerning it show just how unremarkable and anodyne NIEs really are. NIEs are classic statements of the obvious and the information contained in them should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the news with any degree of regularity. NIEs are also political documents and the degree to which they are spun by various interest groups should alarm anyone who had hoped that NIEs would serve as objective sources of intelligence information and guideposts for how foreign and national security policy ought to be constructed.

The authors of the NIE point out that it takes "several months" for the document to be produced. This is amazing, as the NIE says nothing that one cannot find reported in the news and can be written up by a reasonably well-informed person outside of government in about an hour or so. Apparently, I am not alone in thinking this. Of course, there is a need to canvass the intelligence community for dissents but it still shouldn't take "several months" to write up an NIE.

The length of time it takes to write up the NIE becomes all the more astonishing when one considers that there is no mention of specific chatter, leads or other particular references to information that helped shape the writing of the NIE. This probably is because the intelligence community wants to protect sources and methods, but one would hope that national security principals (the President, the Vice President, etc.) and their briefers have access to the aforementioned specific data. I know that if I were in their shoes, I would want that access firsthand and I would want to sift through the data. To be sure, even if sources and methods were revealed, it still would not change the fact that the NIE does little more than state the obvious when it comes to reporting on international developments.

Compounding the fact that the NIE tells us nothing we don't already know is the effort made to spin the NIE to fit particular political agendas. The New York Times coverage is typical of the way in which the release of the NIE was covered and yet, when one reads the actual NIE and compares it to the Times commentary, one wonders if the Times reporters simply read a different document and decided to write a story about it.

It may be that for different people, different parts of the NIE stick out. The part that stuck out for me was the reference to the fact that AQI was "the most visible and capable affiliate" of al Qaeda and that al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) is "the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland." Contra the Times story, of course, nowhere in the NIE does it say that the war in Iraq "spawned" al Qaeda. Even if you want to argue that the war in Iraq did spawn AQI, you cannot say--as the Times did--that the NIE makes such an assertion. Indeed, nothing even resembling that comment appears in the NIE. Curiously enough, the Times story completely downplays language in the NIE discussing how al Qaeda's efforts have been curbed . . . while—again—making up claims about how the NIE says the Iraq war "spawned" AQI. Apparently, writers at the Times don't think that the rest of us can actually get access to and read the NIE.

Thus, a storyline not even mentioned in the NIE was spread through the mainstream media as accepted gospel and the NIE is cited as a source for that storyline. Meanwhile, the actual commentary in the NIE—that AQI is the most dangerous affiliate and that it wants to strike at the United States directly—received relatively short shrift. This despite emerging stories indicating that al Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq may have had a significant hand in planning the recent car bombing in Glasgow. Additionally, there is no attempt to explain away the likelihood that even if al Qaeda didn't exist in Iraq, it would likely invest its resources in countries like Indonesia or Somalia. Nor is there any discussion or commentary as to why having AQI's resources diverted to either Indonesia or Somalia or any other country is preferable to having those resources in Iraq.

Strangely enough, the Times makes no reference to the threat presented by Hezbollah, as indicated in the NIE. In addition, the Times makes no reference to the threat presented by terrorist sites as indicated in the NIE. Was this not important? Why not? If we are going to have a comprehensive discussion and analysis of the terrorist threat, after all, it would do well to discuss all of the major terrorist threats arrayed against the United States. And yet, when it comes to burgeoning threats, the Times and other news outlets were strangely silent, preferring instead to repeat and propagate partisan spin that were issued in response to the release of the NIE.

Maybe from now on, those responsible for issuing NIEs should work to give us genuinely new information instead of simply regurgitating what they and the rest of us hear, see and read in the news. And maybe people should just read NIEs and other such documents before reading news commentary on those documents. That will allow people to make up their own minds concerning what the documents say or don't say. And news outlets will be under greater pressure to get their commentary right if they know that their readers and viewers will look directly to the source to see whether or not matters are being represented fairly and accurately.

We could do worse. And thus far, we have.

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54 Comments

The problem is endemic through much of the reporting media.
Remember the brouhaha over the alleged "imminent threat" that POTUS supposedly said? You may recall that the first politico to charge Saddam with being an "imminent threat" was none other than Senator John Edwards and that POTUS never actually called Saddam an "imminent threat". Or the claim that Bush said that Saddam was involved with the WTC attack. Total bullhockey. The media, and the NYT in particular, can maliciously insert words into the mouths of those they report on, to make political points. They do this with the arrogance of the blinkered elite.

Another perfect example of how members of the anti-U.S. press will misrespresent data and insert words into others' mouths (from Powerline 7/21):

"The Associated Press reported this morning on current operations in Iraq, describing a number of successes in which insurgents were captured or killed. But at the AP, good news never comes unalloyed. The AP adds this commentary:

U.S. military officials also have been signaling for weeks that improvements in Iraqi security forces had not lived up to expectations—especially in the national police, which is widely believed to be infiltrated by Shiite militiamen.
On Friday, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, who commands U.S. troops south of Baghdad, said it would take until the summer of 2008 to consolidate recent gains in his area, which controls land routes into the capital from the east and south.

Last week, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, said the number of combat-ready Iraqi battalions able to fight independently has dropped from 10 to six in recent months despite an increase in U.S. training efforts.

Those grim assessments follow years of optimistic public statements from the Pentagon about the progress in Iraqi security forces and have fueled calls in the Democratic-controlled Congress to begin withdrawing from Iraq.


Note how the AP runs interference for the Democrats in Congress: the Pentagon has been optimistic before, but that optimism hasn't been borne out. And the Democrats are responding rationally to "grim assessments" by military officials.

I was curious about the "grim assessment" that ostensibly came from General Pace last week. If it really were true that the fighting ability of Iraqi forces were declining, that really would be a significant fact. So I tracked down General Pace's comments to see whether they were being reported fairly by the AP.

The AP referred to a Defense Department "media roundtable" by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and General Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, on July 13. The transcript is here. This is the colloquy about the number of Iraqi units able to operate independently:

And I guess, Mr. Secretary, if you could address what you say to Congress, who seems to think that the Iraqis are actually backsliding, because the numbers we had as early as, I think, March is that there 10 battalions operating independently, and it seems as though here that has either diminished or at least not increased. And so what do you say to Congress about how this isn't working so far and why it hasn't?
And can you be a little bit more specific about the numbers?

GEN. PACE: Yeah, I can tell you the numbers that are in my head. Last March, I think I said there were -- I did say and there were 10 battalions that were operating independently, and I think at the time I said there were another 88 operating in the lead. Today, the numbers I saw were six battalions operating independently and another almost 100 that are operating in the lead.

And so the question becomes, okay, how do you go from 10 to six, and why those changes? And the answer is, quite simply, that as units operate in the field, they have casualties. They consume vehicles and equipment, and need to come out of the line and be resupplied, just like our own units. So the fact that a number may be changing within a very narrow band shouldn't be of over -- overly of concern.

On the other hand, we do want to see the number go into double figures and start moving more toward more Iraqi units being able to operate on their own and more units that work operating side by side with us, moving into the lead. It is a valid thing to chase, but we shouldn't put too much weight on minor variations in those numbers.

SEC. GATES: I -- this subject hasn't come up in my conversations with members on the Hill. But if it had, I'd have said what he said.


So the decline from 10 battalions to six results from the fact that Iraqi units have been fighting, as a result of which they need to be resupplied. This is a "minor variation" that is not "overly of concern." Meanwhile, the number of Iraqi battalions capable of operating in the lead, with American troops in a supporting role, continues to grow steadily, now up to around 100.

So the "grim assessment" did not come from General Pace. It came solely from the Associated Press, and the AP made the assessment grim by simply ignoring the explanation and the other numbers that were given by General Pace.

This is how news is reported from Iraq: bad news is cherry-picked, deprived of context, and characterized in the most negative way possible for the explicit purpose of providing cover to those in Congress who are trying to bring about our defeat."

The fact that it is a public document...
tells you its value at pinpointing actual intelligence issues. Intelligence work, to be effective, is done without the knowledge of those being spied upon. To give all the details would be to render that intelligence useless. Therefore the NIE is useless.

That the NYT would distort what it actually says is a complete shocker. Perhaps there was a shortage of actual, valid intelligence efforts that could reveal?

Well said, Killbuzz...
"And yet, when it comes to burgeoning threats, the Times and other news outlets were strangely silent, preferring instead to repeat and propagate partisan spin that were issued in response to the release of the NIE..."

I'm not sure why the author feels it "strange" that the Times and other major news organizations have been silent on anything that doesn't support their partisan spin. This has long been SOP for the liberal media. Cherry pick the news they report in order to paint the Administration and the war effort in as dismal a light as possible and simply ignore news that warns Americans of the real dangers posed by the Islamic fascists.

The media's goal is simple: eliminate conservatives from goverment and reinstall liberals to positions of national power.




Why we have NIEs
Actually I agree with the first part of your statement. The fact that these are public documents is an indication that they depict those "facts" the government would like the public to believe.

But I disagree with part two of your thought, that this public information is covering up some actual, "hard" information of use to the executive in setting policies. (I know you haven't spelled this out, but I think this is what you're getting at.)

Since 2001 it has been apparent that the tail is wagging the dog, and that the information gathering organs formerly known as "intelligence" have been politicised. They now issue reports to their White House superiors that reflect the need for policies already set in concrete to have ample justification.

Formerly it was generally the job of the intelligence organs to offer the Executive neutral, disinterested intel, upon which sound policy could be created. We now have that backwards.

For an extremely detailed example of this, pick up a copy of Hubris at the library. Authors Isikoff and Corn are the original flies on the wall while the case for Saddam's WMDs was being cobbled together, and NIEs were being promulgated up the ying yang.

Fancy footwork
Odd that you should turn on the NYT so rabidly. After all, they were a principal agent in putting daily scare stories on the front page re the threat of Saddam's WMDs, and his alleged collaborations with Al Qaeda. Do you really mean Judith Miller wasn't acting as a direct mouthpiece for the White House? No one was beating the drum for war any louder than her. Go back and read the NYT throughout 2002.

Also, all the hoopla over whether or not Bush ever used the word "imminent" in describing the threat of Saddam's terror minions was an elaborate bit of misdirection.

No, advisers decided not to let him use that word. Instead the words finally chosen for him to sway a reluctant Congress with were that there was a "high risk" of a "surprise attack" using weapons of mass destruction.

A big difference from "imminent", huh? It was still just a big scare job, designed to lure us into war.

John Edwards did once say he thought "Iraq is the most serious and *imminent* threat to our country". But that was during his race for re-election in 2004, when he was trying to explain his vote for the invasion. To me, such campaign rhetoric is something very different from what our Chief Executive assured us before the invasion, prompting us to go to war on the strength of a statement that wasn't true.

We follow our leaders. And he led us down a hole.

The real reason we have them...
is to present a public intelligence stance. No real information resides in them. If there is it is so general that it is next to meaningless. But let's move on to your disagreement.

>"But I disagree with part two of your thought, that this public information is covering up some actual, "hard" information of use to the executive in setting policies. (I know you haven't spelled this out, but I think this is what you're getting at.)"

So you actually believe the Administration gets no intelligence from the intelligence community? That what their game plan is formulated from the air or whatever they see on the see channels?

>"Since 2001 it has been apparent that the tail is wagging the dog, and that the information gathering organs formerly known as "intelligence" have been politicised."

They have always been political. Under all Presidents. The staff and operatives of the intelligence community have as many opinions on politics as does the general public.

Consider Powell's State Department. The State Department has been working against the President's agenda for a long time. The constant leaks are an excellent sign that many within that community do not agree with the President. That is a part of the reason Rice was sent in.

>"They now issue reports to their White House superiors that reflect the need for policies already set in concrete to have ample justification."

Such as?

>"Formerly it was generally the job of the intelligence organs to offer the Executive neutral, disinterested intel, upon which sound policy could be created. We now have that backwards."

Once again: such as? Our intelligence sources are now far more accurate than during the Clinton years when Gorelick created the environment where intelligence branches could not communicate with each other. Intelligence is actually getting better.

>"For an extremely detailed example of this, pick up a copy of Hubris at the library. Authors Isikoff and Corn are the original flies on the wall while the case for Saddam's WMDs was being cobbled together, and NIEs were being promulgated up the ying yang."

Read it. What a load. Corn (The Nation) and Isikoff (Newsweek) were some of the major ranters on "Plamegate". Please understand that their hysterical reporting on that non-story has cast doubt on their abilities as objective observers as well as reporters. Please tell me how these guys are "flies on the wall". They don't seem like the type of people Bush allows into his cabinet meetings and intelligence briefings.

The WMDs, a minor part of the reason to enter Iraq, was also "cobbled" together by the governments of Britain, France, Russia, Jordan, the US, and the offices of the UN. All the supporting evidence was that Saddam still possessed them.

Not to mention we still haven't found the disposal site for those weapons and have found quite a few WMD munitions, as well as enriched uranium, in Iraq.

But you keep this conspiracy theory alive and well Roy. Bush came into office wanting to attack Iraq and bent intelligence to do so. Never mind all the actionable intelligence Clinton FAILED to act on. It is Bush and only Bush.

Really Roy, if these are the sources you rely upon for factual information you will continue to have views that remain firmly rooted in Fantasy Land.

None so blind
If you won't read the book I can't force you to look at the evidence. The authors have interviewed a ton of people directly involved in the events following 9/11, and have obtained every document FOIA will allow them to possess. In a word, they've done their job as reporters.

Iraq wasn't presented to us as being all about the WMDs? That and the supposed collusion between Saddam and Al Qaeda was the sum total of the case presented to the public. You must not have been around at the time.

Clinton, you'll recall, was also looking for an excuse to reinvade Iraq. But he couldn't find one. And unlike Bush, he didn't invent one.

I suppose walking a straight line is fancy footwork to you
2/24/2002 CNN transcript:
While the senator was still high from "our great victory in Afghanistan", John Edwards said "I think Iraq is the most serious and imminent threat to our country."
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0202/24/le.00.html

Edwards was instrumental in leading you down your hole.

Bush used the phrase "gathering threat" in 2003 SOTU. Big difference betweeen the meaning of those words and something that is "imminent" or certain to occur. Maybe to you, you can simply blur everything together. Who was doing the mis-direction?

Would you please document the NYT stories, pre-invasion, on the collusion between Saddam and al Qaida?

The hatred of Judith Miller is well documented in full vocalization by left-wing commentators. The chorus is well known.

Blurry history
Do you recall that the invasion of Iraq was an action sanctioned under Public Law, acts of Congress, and UN resolutions? See:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021002-2.html

And that in regards to al Qaida and similar jihadi terrorists cells, this action was to pre-empt the likelihood of collusion with Saddam. Until it became apparent that Saddams WMD's were nowhere to be found, even Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson believed Saddam had them. Hell, it was her specialty. It's no wonder they orchestrated a poorly constructed row-back. There's a book out now about the CIA's clandestine war against the Bush administration -- by a real reporter. It must be true if it's in a book, right?

Regarding that "Quote" by Edwards
Regarding any “Quotes” made by Democrats in Congress; people forget that shortly after 9-11 Bush restricted the Intelligence that Congress got to see, to just 8 members, and then fed then the BSP from the political appointees in the OSP (Feith Based Intelligence.) And none of those 8 (4 of whom were Democrats) is on the record making any of these outlandish claims.

Any and all “Quotes” like the on Edwards made can be laid right at the feet of Dumbya, who restricted what they got to see and fed them the lies the NeoCon’s were cooking up.

For example; below is what the Intelligence said, and when.


Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 January Through 30 June 1999, Unclassified Report to Congress from the Director of Central Intelligence, February 2000
http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/bian_feb_2000.htm
. . . We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its WMD programs . . .


Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 July Through 31 December 1999, Unclassified Report to Congress from the Director of Central Intelligence, August 2000
http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/bian_aug2000.htm
. . . We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its WMD programs . . .


Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 January Through 30 June 2000, Unclassified Report to Congress from the Director of Central Intelligence, February 2001
http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/bian_feb_2001.htm
. . . We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its WMD programs . . .


Looky here September 2001; right around the time Bush restricted the Intelligence that Congress got to see and started feeding them lies.


Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 July Through 31 December 2000, Unclassified Report to Congress from the Director of Central Intelligence, September 2001
http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/bian_sep_2001.htm


Woot? What happened to the: “We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its WMD programs”? It’ gone.

Speaking of blind...
did you not read where I said that I read it and that it was a load of crap? You are slippin' Roy.

>"The authors have interviewed a ton of people directly involved in the events following 9/11, and have obtained every document FOIA will allow them to possess. In a word, they've done their job as reporters."

It is notable that Rove and Libby, were not interviewed for this book. Considering the roles attributed to them I would have thought they would at least have been contacted to interview. This is a minor fault in your eyes I assume.

Now I know you don't believe in bias amongst reporters but you do know that the author runs a site called bushlies.com and wrote a previous book called "The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception"? Should I trust that he took an objective view of the facts or, perhaps, should I consider that he has already come to the conclusion before he began writing and "researching" for this book?

Or perhaps, with a little fact checking, I concluded that this bias piece of crap does not hold up under scrutiny.

Now, when all is said and done, it has been shown that Hubris was much ado about nothing and that the contention that Rove and Libby outed Plame for Wilson's transgressions has been proven utterly false. In fact, the major liars and deceivers are Plame and Wilson.

I think Tony Snow got it write when he said all of these people who write these books should just title their works "If They Only Listened to Me!"

Considering that most of Corn and Isakoff's contentions have been proven false and the book a mere political hatchet-job are you still willing to stand by it?

I know you don't need evidence or facts to come to the "obvious" conclusions but some of us still do.

>"Iraq wasn't presented to us as being all about the WMDs?"

Ummm... no. It was not. The war authorization bill to Congress only noted WMDs as two of the reasons for entering Iraq. Give it a read.

>"That and the supposed collusion between Saddam and Al Qaeda was the sum total of the case presented to the public."

Really? I thought it was Saddam funding terrorism throughout the Middle East, which is a fact. Including the AQ connection. This, however, was not the major reason for entering Iraq. The major reason was refusal to abide by UN resolutions and continuing to be a destabilizing force in the region.

I know, I know, what about those evil Jews but Saddam had actually instigated invasions instead of defending his country against them.

>"You must not have been around at the time."

But I was and that makes these attempts to rewrite history even more tragic. Even when confronted with the facts on what has occurred, and what hasn't, you still wish to cling to conspiracies and the words of those who merely echo what you wish to hear.

You are not one to speak of being blind in the face of evidence.

>"Clinton, you'll recall, was also looking for an excuse to reinvade Iraq. But he couldn't find one. And unlike Bush, he didn't invent one."

What is tragic is that Clinton, while defunding and crippling the military, never had any intentions of invading Iraq. A country that shot at his pilots and hatched plots to kill a former President was beyond his reach. Not to mention that a great deal of the information and intelligence compiled on Saddam, and used by Bush, was done so under the Clinton administration.

Was Clinton doing some fact-cookin' too? If so your whole contention that Bush has somehow "politicized" the intelligence community is false by your admission.

You could try for greater accuracy
Your entire post is a fount of disinformation.

1. No UN resolution sanctioned our Iraq invasion. True, Congress allowed itself to be buffaloed into supporting the possibility. In the wake of 9/11 and the resulting public outcry, they were mostly all too cowardly to object.

2. The invasion was NEVER, EVER predicated on preventing a possible collusion between Saddam and Osama. This was presented to us as a done deal.

3. Neither Plame nor Wilson ever expressed any personal beliefs as to Saddam's possession of WMDs.

Joe Wilson was a Niger and Gabon expert (both were uranium exporting nations), who had served on Bill Clinton's NSC. When he was brought in to check out the yellowcake rumors, he expressed initial skepticism that appreciable quantities of the stuff could be smuggled out of the country under French noses. Subsequent discovery on his part, in Niger, didn't make the likelihood any more evident. There was no yellowcake pipeline. So where did he express the belief that Saddam had WMDs?

Smilarly, when Plame nee Wilson was Operations Chief of the CIA's Joint Task Force on Iraq, I do not recall her ever expressing any opinion on Saddam's WMDs. Perhaps you could refresh my memory with some quote.

Well in advance of the President's 2003 SOTU speech, every line of evidence indicating either Saddam's collusion with AQ or his possession of WMDs had been thoroughly discredited. But the evidence was disregarded, and we got the war that was required.

"There's a book out now about the CIA's clandestine war against the Bush administration -- by a real reporter. It must be true if it's in a book, right?"

There are a lot of books out on the subject. Which one are you recommending?

Let's retire the discussion
It would indeed be unusual if either Rove or Libby had consented to be interviewed for the book. It does, however, provide a wealth of material about Libby, particularly his close collusion with Judith Miller in the dissemination of their many post-backfire spin jobs.

The fact that one of the authors may have written a book called The Lies of GW Bush does not count as evidence of bias. I'm not surprised someone has taken the trouble to describe them.

In the rest of your lengthy rant you only show your imperviousness to a mountain of testimony. The famous tubes, for instance, areidentical to those Saddam used for his rockets. And when tested for their use in a centrifuge, they failed. But no matter. It's just all disinformation to you, and the tubes were the proof we needed.

So there's no need for me to waste further breath on the discussion. You have your view and I have mine.

How can that be?
How can it have escaped your notice that during the march to war the NYT was among the main instigators, putting stories describing Saddam's many WMDs on the front page on virtually a daily basis, until the object was achieved? These stories were all obtained from the usual official sources, and put forward verbatim as the gospel truth to readers of the Times.

Can it be that you have never actually read the NYT, but only read bad things about it?

reality free liberal zone
Restricting classified info to only the members of the two Intelligence Committees has been SOP for as long as their have been spy agencies.

It's nothing new to Bush.

As to the various articles that you quote, you have to consider the source.

This will be my pleasure

--- Since you apparently did not read the link to the money document, I'll quote:
Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 authorizes the use of all necessary means to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 660 and subsequent relevant resolutions and to compel Iraq to cease certain activities that threaten international peace and security, including the development of weapons of mass destruction and refusal or obstruction of United Nations weapons inspections in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, repression of its civilian population in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688, and threatening its neighbors or United Nations operations in Iraq in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 949;

Whereas Congress in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1) has authorized the President "to use United States Armed Forces pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 (1990) in order to achieve implementation of Security Council Resolutions 660, 661, 662, 664, 665, 666, 667, 669, 670, 674, and 677";

Whereas in December 1991, Congress expressed its sense that it "supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 as being consistent with the Authorization of Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1)," that Iraq's repression of its civilian population violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 and "constitutes a continuing threat to the peace, security, and stability of the Persian Gulf region," and that Congress, "supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688";

Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;

---- I think it's up to you to do the research on your second question. You brought it up and made the allegation. Support it.

--- You ask "So where did he (Wilson) express the belief that Saddam had WMDs?"

Here: 2/23/2003
http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_wilson.html

'MOYERS: President Bush’s recent speech to the American Enterprise Institute, he said, let me quote it to you. "The danger posed by Saddam Hussein and his weapons cannot be ignored or wished away." You agree with that?
WILSON: I agree with that. Sure.

MOYERS: "The danger must be confronted." You agree with that? "We would hope that the Iraqi regime will meet the demands of the United Nations and disarm fully and peacefully. If it does not, we are prepared to disarm Iraq by force. Either way, this danger will be removed. The safety of the American people depends on ending this direct and growing threat." You agree with that?

WILSON: I agree with that. Sure. The President goes on to say in that speech as he did in the State of the Union Address is we will liberate Iraq from a brutal dictator. All of which is true. But the only thing Saddam Hussein hears in this speech or the State of the Union Address is, "He’s coming to kill me. He doesn’t care if I have weapons of mass destruction or not. His objective is to come and overthrow my regime and to kill me." And that then does not provide any incentive whatsoever to disarm.'

And here: LA Times OpEd 2/6/2003 reprinted by
http://web.archive.org/web/20040409230230/www.johnkerry.com/honesty/la_times.html

'There is now no incentive for Hussein to comply with the inspectors or to refrain from using weapons of mass destruction to defend himself if the United States comes after him.

And he will use them; we should be under no illusion about that."

Now Roy, if Joe Wilson believed Saddam had his WMDs on the eve of the invasion, would it stand to reason that Valerie also believed this? Where do you think he got his inside info from? Wouldn't Valerie be honor bound to correct her husband's public statements if she believed or knew otherwise. Remember, these words and beliefs of his were put to paper almost a year after his alleged Niger investigation.

To your final question: 'Sabotage: America's Enemies Within the CIA' by Rowan Scarborough. I don't recommend it and don't plan to read it, nor will I read Corn who I find to be an insufferably arrogrant p*ick. I'm simply saying to you that just because a journalist wrote it doesn't mean squat. They will lie just as a president will lie.

Chew on these, then tell me what dopes they are:
"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." -- From a letter signed by Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Milulski, Tom Daschle, & John Kerry among others on October 9, 1998

"This December will mark three years since United Nations inspectors last visited Iraq. There is no doubt that since that time, Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to refine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer- range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies." -- From a December 6, 2001 letter signed by Bob Graham, Joe Lieberman, Harold Ford, & Tom Lantos among others

"Whereas Iraq has consistently breached its cease-fire agreement between Iraq and the United States, entered into on March 3, 1991, by failing to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction program, and refusing to permit monitoring and verification by United Nations inspections; Whereas Iraq has developed weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological capabilities, and has made positive progress toward developing nuclear weapons capabilities" -- From a joint resolution submitted by Tom Harkin and Arlen Specter on July 18, 2002

"Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Madeline Albright, 1998

"(Saddam) will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and some day, some way, I am certain he will use that arsenal again, as he has 10 times since 1983" -- National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Feb 18, 1998

"Iraq made commitments after the Gulf War to completely dismantle all weapons of mass destruction, and unfortunately, Iraq has not lived up to its agreement." -- Barbara Boxer, November 8, 2002

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons, but has not yet achieved nuclear capability." -- Robert Byrd, October 2002

"There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat... Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He's had those for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of 2001... He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn't have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we." -- Wesley Clark on September 26, 2002

"What is at stake is how to answer the potential threat Iraq represents with the risk of proliferation of WMD. Baghdad's regime did use such weapons in the past. Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs." -- Jacques Chirac, October 16, 2002

"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998

More dopes duped by Bush's 'mind-meld':
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security." -- Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

"I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons...I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out." -- Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Cohen in April of 2003

"Iraq is not the only nation in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction, but it is the only nation with a leader who has used them against his own people." -- Tom Daschle in 1998

"Saddam Hussein's regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal." -- John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002

"The debate over Iraq is not about politics. It is about national security. It should be clear that our national security requires Congress to send a clear message to Iraq and the world: America is united in its determination to eliminate forever the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction." -- John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002

"I share the administration's goals in dealing with Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction." -- **** Gephardt in September of 2002

"Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." -- Al Gore, 2002

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction." -- Bob Graham, December 2002

"Saddam Hussein is not the only deranged dictator who is willing to deprive his people in order to acquire weapons of mass destruction." -- Jim Jeffords, October 8, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -- Ted Kennedy, September 27, 2002

"There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein's regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed." -- Ted Kennedy, Sept 27, 2002

"I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force - if necessary - to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." -- John F. Kerry, Oct 2002

and finally, as Henry Waxman claims, "Those are simply the facts."
"The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last 4 years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons. He has had a free hand for 4 years to reconstitute these weapons, allowing the world, during the interval, to lose the focus we had on weapons of mass destruction and the issue of proliferation." -- John Kerry, October 9, 2002

"(W)e need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. We all know the litany of his offenses. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. ...And now he is miscalculating America?s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. That is why the world, through the United Nations Security Council, has spoken with one voice, demanding that Iraq disclose its weapons programs and disarm. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but it is not new. It has been with us since the end of the Persian Gulf War." -- John Kerry, Jan 23, 2003

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandates of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them." -- Carl Levin, Sept 19, 2002

"Every day Saddam remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons, and the development of nuclear weapons is a day of danger for the United States." -- Joe Lieberman, August, 2002

"Over the years, Iraq has worked to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. During 1991 - 1994, despite Iraq's denials, U.N. inspectors discovered and dismantled a large network of nuclear facilities that Iraq was using to develop nuclear weapons. Various reports indicate that Iraq is still actively pursuing nuclear weapons capability. There is no reason to think otherwise. Beyond nuclear weapons, Iraq has actively pursued biological and chemical weapons.U.N. inspectors have said that Iraq's claims about biological weapons is neither credible nor verifiable. In 1986, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, and later, against its own Kurdish population. While weapons inspections have been successful in the past, there have been no inspections since the end of 1998. There can be no doubt that Iraq has continued to pursue its goal of obtaining weapons of mass destruction." -- Patty Murray, October 9, 2002

"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -- Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998

"Even today, Iraq is not nearly disarmed. Based on highly credible intelligence, UNSCOM [the U.N. weapons inspectors] suspects that Iraq still has biological agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, and clostridium perfringens in sufficient quantity to fill several dozen bombs and ballistic missile warheads, as well as the means to continue manufacturing these deadly agents. Iraq probably retains several tons of the highly toxic VX substance, as well as sarin nerve gas and mustard gas. This agent is stored in artillery shells, bombs, and ballistic missile warheads. And Iraq retains significant dual-use industrial infrastructure that can be used to rapidly reconstitute large-scale chemical weapons production." -- Ex-Un Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter in 1998

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. And that may happen sooner if he can obtain access to enriched uranium from foreign sources -- something that is not that difficult in the current world. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." -- John Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002

"Saddam?s existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose a very real threat to America, now. Saddam has used chemical weapons before, both against Iraq?s enemies and against his own people. He is working to develop delivery systems like missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles that could bring these deadly weapons against U.S. forces and U.S. facilities in the Middle East." -- John Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002

"Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Administration?s policy towards Iraq, I don?t think there can be any question about Saddam?s conduct. He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do. He lies and cheats; he snubs the mandate and authority of international weapons inspectors; and he games the system to keep buying time against enforcement of the just and legitimate demands of the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States and our allies. Those are simply the facts." -- Henry Waxman, Oct 10, 2002


Dancing carefully about
The problem with your formulation is that the conditions in UN 660,678 etc had all been satisfied. Iraq had allowed the resumption of inspections, and zero evidence had been found of any clandestine weapons programs.

With the benefit of hindsight, we now know there were no active WMD programs. Nor was Iraq threatening any opf its neighbors. It was the United States doing all the threatening.

So the wording of the pertinent UN resolutions was moot. Iraq's activities were not actionable under those documents. Further, the UN lifted not a finger to act. The invasion was an outlaw action, unsanctioned and unilateral.

Next in your interview between Moyers and Wilson, it is quite apparent that Wilson, a man with long experience in Iraq, is talking about Saddam's weapons potential-- not, as you indicate, actual weapons. He did not express any firm belief that Saddam acually had, in the present tense, WMDs. But he was certainly cognizant of the possibility that there might be hidden, active programs. And he was anxious to be of help in finding any smoking guns he might be able to uncover. That's why he so readily went to Niger.

But his objection went to the fact that once there, he definitively laid the yellowcake case to rest-- only to see it resurrected without the benefit of any credible foundation, to serve political ends.

So then, Wilson believed Saddam was a dictator, was brutal, was a potential danger, had the capability of resurrecting his dismantled WMD programs, could be presumed to have the intent to do so, etc etc. About the only thing he stopped short from saying was that Saddam HAD an active banned weapons program. Because he, unlike you, spoke carefully. And he knew that wasn't proven.

You also say "if Joe Wilson believed Saddam had his WMDs on the eve of the invasion, would it stand to reason that Valerie also believed this? Where do you think he got his inside info from? Wouldn't Valerie be honor bound to correct her husband's public statements if she believed or knew otherwise."

Joe Wilson was an experienced foreign service hand, who had spent years in Africa and Iraq and had actually spoken with Saddam. He doesn't have to "believe" things his wife brought home from work. Nor, in fact, are FS officers prone to believing their own conclusions without a supporting basis in fact. He knew and distrusted Saddam. He was anxious to find any evidence he could of a clandestine weapons program. But he certainly was of a higher caliber than to "believe" any theory unsupported by a factual foundation.

Inside info? The guy was already inside.

Then, speaking of sloppy words, you refer to his "alleged Niger investigation". Are you telling us he didn't go to Niger? Support it.

Finally I would urge you to read both books-- the Scarborough book and the Corn and Isikoff book. As well as any other book you can find on the subject. And I would urge also that you cultivate critical thinming skills. You know, you really don't have to either "believe" or "not believe" anything you read. You can instead do your own critical research, and figure out the truth of the matter for yourself.

Hubris, for instance, quotes innumerable sources as to the facts it lays out. And I have not heard a single one of the individuals named come to light, saying they were misquoted. There are many other ways, of course, one can check up on the veracity of the information contained in this or any other book.

Sadly, critical thinking skills are not taught in our public schools, and people only grow up reading under duress. Then when they do read, the only thing they can do is to believe ir disbelieve, depending on their gut instincts. It's a very sad testament to our culture.

They were dopes all right
Isn't it amazing how wrong so many people were?

Let's put these quotes into a bit of context. As I'm sure you know, Saddam sispended the inspections back in 1998 because he wasn't getting any cooperation from us. He had been doing his part of the deal for years-- allowing intrusive UN inspections that were coming up dry increasingly. After 1996 in fact I can only find a single UN document of a finding-- and that was a bit of chemical that appeared to have been a trace, overlooked and thus undestroyed when he dismantled all his programs. So the inspections appeared to have been successful in forcing him to end all his programs.

Thn, quite reasonably, he asked the US and the UN to do their part and lift the sanctions that were killing his country. We didn't, and he kicked the inspectors out.

I know you have the time and enthusiasm to respond to this. Wasn't this is fact the way it actually happened?

Still more dopes
Isn't it amazing how all these people were proven wrong?

And these are the people who'll still be running the country after 2008. So who's the bigger dope-- them or the American voter?

No problem
>"It would indeed be unusual if either Rove or Libby had consented to be interviewed for the book."

Indeed. But the point is they were never even asked.

>"It does, however, provide a wealth of material about Libby, particularly his close collusion with Judith Miller in the dissemination of their many post-backfire spin jobs."

You mean a wealth of heresay and second hand opinions.

>"In the rest of your lengthy rant you only show your imperviousness to a mountain of testimony."

Testimony by who? Considering the hundreds of Democrat investigations into every aspect of the Bush administration what has been the product? Where are all the crimes?

If you wish to continue, name anything in Hubris that is factual and truthful. Outside of the authors providing their names I can't think of a one off the top of my head.

>"The famous tubes, for instance, areidentical to those Saddam used for his rockets. And when tested for their use in a centrifuge, they failed. But no matter. It's just all disinformation to you, and the tubes were the proof we needed."

More simplistic reduction. All Bush did was say "Tubes. Let's attack Iraq." It seems to me, and to those who have a memory, that there was more to it than that.

>"So there's no need for me to waste further breath on the discussion. You have your view and I have mine."

Absolutely. Except my view is based on the facts, not the rabid rantings of professional Bush-haters.

Nice job KB
Those of us not lost in the fog of liberal spin and revisionist history remember quite well that Bush did not have to create intelligence or spin it in order to make a case against Saddam.

People, such as Roy and LeMule, don't understand that Saddam was the cause of this war. Not Bush.

Your defense of Saddam is noted
He was a reasonable fellow, right?

You've made some progress
At least you now admit they were wrong, rather than malicious liars. Bravo, Roy. Maybe you have some wits about you afterall.

How can you be so ignorant?
Are you saying the NYT was in bed with the Administration? Wow. Loosen up the tin-foil hat Roy.

The NYT was merely reporting, a practice they dabble in, what every intelligence agency in the world thought at that time and Saddam's suspicious activities.

Are you saying that you knew better at that time? On what evidence did you base your opinion on?

Your footwork is duck-footed
Yeah.
And you think that Saddam was a reasonable fellow.

You are the one dancing around the meaning of "is". Very Clintonian of you. Wilson spoke in present tense and in consideration of the looming invasion, not some future possibility. You're full of s*hit.

You ask --- "Then, speaking of sloppy words, you refer to his "alleged Niger investigation". Are you telling us he didn't go to Niger? Support it."

I am certain he did go on a trip to Niger and I am certain that he did spend several weeks drinking mint tea with old friends and talking to the pool boy. I am also certain that this does not qualify as a thorough investigation, rather, this is known as a junket. His testimony was quite different when placed under oath. Wilson has been exposed as a self-serving liar. He did not express any alarm whatsoever over the Niger caper in numerous public statements and appearances until after he was recruited by the Kerry campaign. I do not accept his OpEd piece as the final word on the Yellowcake story.

You mistake cynical thinking with critical thinking. How very sad your life must be.

Not your best reply
It was hardly a matter of Saddam being "reasonable". I really was hoping you'd offer a more spirited defense of your position.

The plain fact was that we dictated the terms of a draconian peace treaty in 1991, following Saddam's total military defeat. Which was fine-- we won fair and square. And among those terms was that Saddam would hold his robe wide open while inspectors scurried about, looking for WMDs in all his crevices.

Which he did. The agreement was that once the inspectors were satisfied, the sanctions would be lifted and Iraq would be allowed to normalize.

After 1996 it was apparent that the active WMD programs had all been dismantled-- they could hardly proceed in the midst of all this poking around. And the only thing the inspectors were coming up with were the occasional tail end of some materiel that had not yet been destroyed. Which, considering Saddam had weapons caches and facilities scattered all over the country, was understandable.

So IMO Saddam quite rightly thought he could tell the inspectors "I have declared. You have verified. Now let's see the payoff. Lift the sanctions like you promised."

But the payoff never happened. So in 1998, in the context of almost weekly bombing incursions and other annoyances and provocations, he told the inspectors to get out.

Making it personal, saying I'm defending Saddam, is not an adequate response. Let's see something better, so you may persuade me.

The missing yellowcake
Amazing, that for so many people this kind of thing passes for argument.

Wilson described a scenario in which 500 tons of yellowcake could not have left Niger while escaping the notice of the French. Nor is there any evidence such a shipment entered Iraq. Nor, after the exhaustive investigation of every back yard in the entire country, was any of it ever found.

Nor, in fact, were there any traces of a nuclear program that could have employed it. Finally, the papers cooked up and sold for cash to the gullible Americans were easily proven to be forgeries, bearing signatures of Nigerien officials no longer in office as of the dates of the papers.

So, despite all this, I guess there really was a yellowcake program, huh? And it is so darned self evident, you don't even have to explain to me how it worked, or offer one shred of actual evidence.

I love it.

Believing the vidence
"Are you saying the NYT was in bed with the Administration? Wow. Loosen up the tin-foil hat Roy."

Unfortunately the NYT doesn't open its stacks to non-subscribers. But you can get the flavor of the kinds of news it was pushing back then from these WaPo snippets:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A39280-2003May25?language=printer

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/24/AR2005102401405.html

The fact is that for many years this paper reflected the opinions of those in power. And did so because to do otherwise would be to shut the door on access to those perpetually newsworthy names. They did it then, they did it when Clinton was in office and they do it now. So do all the televised news desks. There is no one out there rocking the boat other than the marginal media. How many among us read The Nation, for instance? Straying from the party line is not good for business.

Why do they reflect the beliefs and understandings of every administration? You do understand, don't you, that these are profit-making ventures, designed to offer inoffensive tidbits to the boobs that watch the tube and buy the paper? Whenever they go to the edge, their numbers drop to the levels enjoyed by The Nation.

In short, if you read the NYT today you will find pretty much your own point of view being reflected back at you (that's the news section, not the op-eds). But you'll never know that. All you read instead are your Trusted Sources. And they tell you how to think of the NYT.

"The NYT was merely reporting, a practice they dabble in, what every intelligence agency in the world thought at that time and Saddam's suspicious activities."

Not so. Throughout 2002 the French, the Germans and the Russians were all telling us the same story-- that there's nothing there that anyone can see. Your telling me every intel agency on earth knew this just tells me you never even read the papers.

"Are you saying that you knew better at that time? On what evidence did you base your opinion on?"

The evidence the inspectors were bringing back. The files of the UN monitors were open and complete. After 1996 there was nothing of interest in them-- save a single finding of some overlooked chemicals I located for 1997. There were no weapons programs.

You're changing the subject
We were discussing Wilson's poor excuse of an investigation and his belief in an active Iraq WMD program. Bush's reasoned 16 words in 2003 SOTU were based on British intelligence and that Iraq sought (not bought) yellowcake uranium. As you say, the Italian forgeries were detected well before Wilson even went to Niger. Overall the case was weak, however, this does not change the nature of the Wilson junket nor his own convictions regarding the threat Saddam posed.

What was Ritter talking about in 1998 when he said:
"Even today, Iraq is not nearly disarmed. Based on highly credible intelligence, UNSCOM [the U.N. weapons inspectors] suspects that Iraq still has biological agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, and clostridium perfringens in sufficient quantity to fill several dozen bombs and ballistic missile warheads, as well as the means to continue manufacturing these deadly agents. Iraq probably retains several tons of the highly toxic VX substance, as well as sarin nerve gas and mustard gas. This agent is stored in artillery shells, bombs, and ballistic missile warheads. And Iraq retains significant dual-use industrial infrastructure that can be used to rapidly reconstitute large-scale chemical weapons production." -- Ex-Un Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter in 1998

Is this insignificant to you?

My position
I'm simply going to let you talk. It's very revealing.

Please link to the agreement you refer to regarding weapons inspectors and sanctions.

A problem readily solved
No, none of this is, or was, insignificant to me. Virtually no one at that time knew better whereof he spoke than Scott Ritter. And this was the list of things he was looking for when inspections were disrupted.

The remedy would have been to continue with the inspections program. The problem at the root of all this was that Saddam, not wanting to publicise the fact that he had dismantled his programs to his potential enemies in the region, chose to secretly dispose of the prohibited items instead of calling in the inspectors, showing them the remaining facilties and stockpiles, and asking them how he should proceed.

In hindsight, it would have been a much better career move for him.

The stumbling block was a valid one. Saddam had made the case for his own substantial compliance. The UN itself had made the case for the sanctions regime causing substantial human damage. So Saddam was insisting that some "quid" be offered for his seven years of unrequited "quo". There was certainly a diplomatic solution available there, for negotiators coming in good faith.

But there were no such negotiators in the USG. Much has been written about the fact that this was a war that could easily have been avoided. But the assumption was made for far too long that our executive branch had avoidance as its goal.

It didn't.

UN Resolution 687
It was held out to Iraq that there would be a reconsideration of the sanctions pending substantial compliance, according to the wording of 660, 661 and 687. More specifically

" 20. Decides, effective immediately, that the prohibitions against the sale or supply to Iraq of commodities or products, other than medicine and health supplies, and prohibitions against financial transactions related thereto contained in resolution 661 (1990) shall not apply to foodstuffs notified to the Security Council Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) concerning the situation between Iraq and Kuwait or, with the approval of that Committee, under the simplified and accelerated "no-objection" procedure, to materials and supplies for essential civilian needs as identified in the report of the Secretary-General dated 20 March 1991, and in any further findings of humanitarian need by the Committee;

21. Decides that the Security Council shall review the provisions of paragraph 20 above every sixty days in the light of the policies and practices of the Government of Iraq, including the implementation of all relevant resolutions of the Security Council, for the purpose of determining whether to reduce or lift the prohibitions referred to therein;

22. Decides that upon the approval by the Security Council of the programme called for in paragraph 19 above and upon Council agreement that Iraq has completed all actions contemplated in paragraphs 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 above, the prohibitions against the import of commodities and products originating in Iraq and the prohibitions against financial transactions related thereto contained in resolution 661 (1990) shall have no further force or effect;

23. Decides that, pending action by the Security Council under paragraph 22 above, the Security Council Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) shall be empowered to approve, when required to assure adequate financial resources on the part of Iraq to carry out the activities under paragraph 20 above, exceptions to the prohibition against the import of commodities and products originating in Iraq;"

http://www.fas.org/news/un/iraq/sres/sres0687.htm

And in fact in 1998 as I recall there were some reclassifications of items necessary to the maintenance of the public infrastructure as prohibited under "dual use: doctrine. Pumps, for instance. Pumps could be used for almost anything, hence no pumps could be imported. This was some slight improvement, but didn't go nearly far enough in light of Iraq's public health crisis.

See in particular this very interesting article:

http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/sanction/iraq1/turnpoint/2001/0227sct.htm

It was the opinion of the Iraqi government-- as well as those of China, Russia and others-- that the UN was not giving due consideration to Iraq's pleadings for a more widespread reconsideration of sanctions. So there was a tit for tat, and inspectors were thrown out of the country.

That's not how you remember it?

Not even a whisker of substantiation
You're saying the Italian forgeries were uncovered before Wilson even went to Niger? Then why was he even sent? They comprised the entire basis for thinking there was a deal to export yellowcake to Iraq. No validity to the papers, no case.

This rumor of clandestine negotiations, much less shipments, was blown to kingdom come a half dozen times before the wording was inserted into the SOTU speech. Everyone in the intel community was aghast that the White House would still resurrect such thoroughly discredited info.

The National Intelligence Council told Bush explicitly "We judge it highly unlikely that Niamey has sold uranium, yellowcake to Baghdad in recent years. The [intelligence community] agrees with the IAEA assessment that key documents purported showing a recent Iraq-Niger sales accord are a fabrication. We judge that other reports from 2002-- one alleging warehousing of yellowcake for shipment to Iraq, a second alleging a 1999 visit by an Iraqi delegation to Niamey-- do not constitute credible evidence of a recent or impending sale." And this is only a single line of evidence submitted in refutation of charges.

But you believe, apparently, that none of this is pertinent. Instead, your case is supported by some notion you have that Wilson did a bad job in running the rumor down on the ground-- and that he believed Saddam "was a threat". Known intelligence was all somehow beside the point.

It's a flimsy reed you're standing on.

It would be nice if you actually looked at the evidence
>"How many among us read The Nation, for instance?"

Well, there is opposing ALL THINGS BUSH which is what the NYT engages in. Then there is employing sheer lunacy to oppose ALL THINGS BUSH which is what the Nation engages in.

Only two types of people read The Nation: those who wish to laugh at demented, conspiracy-laden, liberal "thought" (that would be me) and those who need fuel for demented, conspiracy-laden, liberal "thought" (that would be you).

As is evidenced by your conclusion that the NYT is suffering economically due to agreement with Bush. I would say their woes are due to a changing environment where one can shop the internet and choose a variety of news sources. Not to mention the ready ability to fact check what is being passed as news by the NYT. If one does so, which you obviously have NOT done, one can see an obvious liberal bias. And not just in the op-eds.

>"All you read instead are your Trusted Sources."

This from a man who trusts PBS and The Nation for accuracy. Excuse me if I don't give your criticism much weight.

>"Not so. Throughout 2002 the French, the Germans and the Russians were all telling us the same story-- that there's nothing there that anyone can see. Your telling me every intel agency on earth knew this just tells me you never even read the papers."

Source those newspaper reports. Russia, France, and Germany were all about inspections and containment. Never did they say Saddam no longer had any WMDs. You should also note each governments involvement with Oil for Food and various illegal circumventions of the UNs sanctions.

Put up or shut up.

>"The evidence the inspectors were bringing back. The files of the UN monitors were open and complete. After 1996 there was nothing of interest in them-- save a single finding of some overlooked chemicals I located for 1997. There were no weapons programs."

So the massive misdirections by Saddam, noted by Blix as well as others, are of no interest? How about the fact that internal Iraqi intelligence notes ongoing weapons programs? No inspector has ever concluded that pre-Iraq was in compliance with the UN resolutions.

I imagine that the fact that is of "no interest"?

I mean here are some of the things Kay reported in 2003:

- A clandestine network of laboratories and safe houses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment that was subject to U.N. monitoring and was suitable for continuing chemical and biological weapons research.

- A prison laboratory complex that possibly was used to test biological weapons agents on humans. Kay said his investigations have shown that Iraqi officials working to prepare for U.N. inspections were ordered not to declare the facility to the U.N.

- Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in the home of an Iraqi scientist. One of the strains can be used to produce biological weapons.

- New research on biological weapons-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin -- none of which were declared to the U.N.

- Documents and equipment, hidden in scientists' homes, that would have helped Iraq resume uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation.

Yep. Nothing to see here people. Move along. This isn't even the half of it. Once again you remain committed to rendering yourself willfully blind.

It makes me wonder what criteria you are using to do your searches. Or even if you are doing any investigative work whatsoever.

The problem being?
>"The stumbling block was a valid one. Saddam had made the case for his own substantial compliance. The UN itself had made the case for the sanctions regime causing substantial human damage. So Saddam was insisting that some "quid" be offered for his seven years of unrequited "quo". There was certainly a diplomatic solution available there, for negotiators coming in good faith."

Was not Saddam receiving significant "Quid" in the Oil for Food scheme? Are you implying that Saddam refused to accept inspectors due to the harsh conditions imposed on his beloved people by the evil US-led UN?

Or perhaps Saddam knew that even if he kicked out inspectors he had only to wait until sanctions were diminished, followed by removal, by those UN members who were already in his pocket.

It is strange that you use the term "good faith" when you have absolutely no concept of it.

Am I doing any investigative work?
You should have done a little more investigative work on the charges you relate. These fall apart quickly:

"- A prison laboratory complex that possibly was used to test biological weapons agents on humans. Kay said his investigations have shown that Iraqi officials working to prepare for U.N. inspections were ordered not to declare the facility to the U.N."

"Possibly"? Come on, now. I have a room in my house that possibly could have been used to manufacture counterfeit money, or to seduce helpless virgins. This kind of rank speculation is no smoking gun.

"- Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in the home of an Iraqi scientist. One of the strains can be used to produce biological weapons."

The American Type Collection readily sold most of the strains the Iraqis had in their collections. And it's fairly common for bacteriologists here or in any country to keep samples at home, where they can keep an eye on them. These small vials stored in a home safe are most likely to have had legitimate uses for scientists with legitimate interests in them.

Without knowing the exact type alleged to "be able" to be weaponised, there's no way to evaluate this rumor.

"- New research on biological weapons-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin -- none of which were declared to the U.N."

Did your trusted sources neglect to tell you that brucellosis and CCHF were both diseases endemic to flocks in Iraq-- as are screw worm, hemhorrhagic septicemia, goat plague, sheep and goat pox, ANTHRAX and foot and mouth disease? And thus that research into control of every one of these organisms has a legitimate veterinary purpose?

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=14440&Cr=Iraq&Cr1=

They are counting on the fact that you know nothing of epidemiological problems in the Middle East. This is a prime example of the kind of thing that happens when you don't step a foot beyond your politically skewed sources. Try understanding why it is we take an interest in those diseases.

They also assume you will fail to understand that ricin is not a WMD. It is a poison, and the thing that makes castor beans dangerous to small children.

"- Documents and equipment, hidden in scientists' homes, that would have helped Iraq resume uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation."

Let's see... if a nuclear physicist had a book on his library shelf describing enrivchment techniques, and a geiger counter, I think that would qualify. Is that what they found?

For all that, even though these particular charges are flimsy in nature, Kay was doing important work. It was just this kind of dogged annoyance that kept Saddam from ever resuming any genuine WMD programs. Had these inspections been kept up, it would have been both cheap and effective as a way to keep him off base.

If you want to cherry pick David Kay intel-- and the guy is a fount of first rate information-- check out how the CIA asked him in for a consult, after the invasion, when inexplicably, they weren't finding a thing anywhere.

He told them they were going about it all backwards. Instead of looking in every basement and garage in the country, they should try to find the human infratsructure something as giant as a clandestine weapons program would require. They should try to interview the lab techs, military and security officers guarding sites, the janitors and cleaning ladies, the clerks, the truck drivers, the accountants and all the other people such programs would employ.

If you allege someone has an ongoing program in something like WMDs, and not just some theoretical interest, you assume the existence of a huge infrastructure devoted to weapons research and production. You're not going to find any smoking guns out in somebody's toolshed, under the old Playboy magazines. Instead, you're going to find evidence all over the place. THAT'S what David Kay had to tell them.

We didn't. Not ever.

Descending to parody
"Are you implying that Saddam refused to accept inspectors due to the harsh conditions imposed on his beloved people by the evil US-led UN?"

Yes. I know in your nightmare mental landscape there is no room for any comprehension that a national leader might be alarmed at the erosion of his entire nation's health infrastructure. But of course it's true.

The guy led a national security state. That means his priority was to keep the security apparatus intact. Oil for food allowed him to do that, and he did so at the expense of the public welfare by diverting many resources to feed his security machine. But meanwhile there were those half million children who died of preventable diseases because the things that would prevent them were banned from importation.

This is not one you can put on Saddam. He had nothing to do with the imposition of sanctions on essential medical and public health supplies. That was the doing of the United States, in bending the UN to its designs.

It was Madeleine Albright who said, when informed of the UNICEF report, that that was not too great a price to pay. Allowing unacceptable numbers of innocent people to die was just a ploy they used in order to destabilize Saddam's regime. In this instance, who was the bad guy again?

No weapons programs? Really?
Roy Bean said:

"After 1996 there was nothing of interest in them-- save a single finding of some overlooked chemicals I located for 1997. There were no weapons programs."

Really? I suggest you read Hans Blix' reports to the UN Security Counsel on 27 Jan., 14 Feb. and Mar.7, 2003.

Roy Bean said:

"Throughout 2002 the French, the Germans and the Russians were all telling us the same story-- that there's nothing there that anyone can see. Your telling me every intel agency on earth knew this just tells me you never even read the papers."

Really? David Kay testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee, January 28, 2004 shortly after he resigned as special advisor to the Iraq Survey Group. Kay states, referring to the expectation that there would be substantial stocks of, and production lines for, chemical and biological weapons in Iraq, that "we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here." He also notes that other foreign intelligence agencies, including the French and the German, also had believed that Iraq possessed such stocks and production lines. In addition, he discusses the issue of whether political pressure had any impact on the content of the October 2002 national intelligence estimate (Document 15). Kay also notes that "based on the work of the Iraq Survey Group … Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of [U.N.] Resolution 1441. He goes on to note the discovery of hundreds of instances of activities prohibited by U.N. Resolution 687.
Source: http:\\www.gwu.edu Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction which contains an exhaustive list of the various items on Iraq WMD stretching back decades.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

Sadly
Roy Bean does not get the point.

Roy's convenient false morality
>"In this instance, who was the bad guy again?"

Rational people would say it was Saddam. However, you believe that the suffering of the Iraqi people was, once again, due to the imperial drive of the US and our ability to make the UN do as we wish.

Do you have the foggiest recollections of why those sanctions were in place, Old Man? While it is a favorite blame-America-first, liberal tactic to scream "The Children!" it simply does not pass the sniff test to blame the Iraqi people's woes on UN sanctions.

Saddam's drive to annex Kuwait and his refusal to abide by UN inspections brought about their sorry state. A sorry state that put money in many a UN, French, and Russian politician's pocket.

Which comes to my main point: you seem so concerned about the welfare of Iraqi children and of the population at large and yet you see no reason to have granted them freedom from Saddam.

Truly you possess no moral compass nor a sense of right and wrong. The US ended the sanctions and gave the people of Iraq the chance to govern themselves. There was and is suffering involved but keeping the status quo was not the moral or right thing to do.

But I will never expect you to understand that.

No not really
I see you lack the capacity to do so.

All in all your rant has nothing to do with anything actually reported by Kay or the massive evidence compiled to the contrary.

I suppose when you actually have your internal intelligence services writing memos about hiding evidence and misdirecting inspectors one can safely assume that there was never anything to hide.

Your logic is as well developed as your morality.

That;s a high horse you've got there
The sanctions, once in place, were found to be of no efficacy in keeping Saddam from rearming, yet they had a demonstrably devastating effect on the health of the Iraqi people. Yet we kept them in place. Does that not tell you something about US priorities?

Post-1991 the woes of the Iraqi people (first and foremost, our allowing Saddam to crush the Shiite revolt) are directly attributable to American actions. In saying this I don't excuse Saddam, but instead treat him as a known quantity. It's like leaving the gate open, and your bull mastiffs tear your five year old apart. Who is to blame? The dogs? Or you?

"The US ended the sanctions and gave the people of Iraq the chance to govern themselves."

First, there is no functioning government in Iraq. Second, there are few working hospitals, sanitation system or functioning grids for water and electricity. What we're presiding over is something else, similar in effect to and just as bad as, the sanctions.

"Saddam's drive to annex Kuwait and his refusal to abide by UN inspections brought about their sorry state."

It was a put up job, to get rid of a dictator who had outgrown his utility to us. You don't recall that he had some valid gripes against Kuwait for withholding proceeds owed him and for slant drilling into Iraqi fields? He went to his patron, the US, for permission to chastie. And it was not withheld.

The whole situation was handled similar to the way we dealt with our other worn out stooge, Manny Noriega. Go in, shoot the place up and declare someone else to be their president.

"A sorry state that put money in many a UN, French, and Russian politician's pocket."

You forget who it was who made money on the sale. A majority of the money made handling the Oil for Food oil were American. The middlemen involved were just getting finders' fees. The serious money was made in the sale and refining of the oil.

We put Saddam up to his entire career, beginning with his employment in a CIA plot when he was a teenager, to whack Qassem. We've owned that guy all along. So once again, who owns the blame?

Inspections
I believe the issue under discusion here is not whether Saddam had any WMDs or active weapons programs (obviously, he didn't) but rather whether we "knew" he had such programs before March, 2003.

We didn't.

Did we suspect he had such programs? Of course we did. That's why we sent the Blix team, the Ritter team and every other team we could put together over there to conduct inspections. And this was the easiest, most effective, lowest cost approach to the problem.

So in fact, prior to the invasion, the inspections resumed. But we pre-empted that by invading, because the real intent was not to go trotting around the countryside indefinitely, looking in every garage for atom bombs, but to take over political control of the Middle East's most central nation. Allowing the inspections to continue would have precluded that plan.

In the land of the blind...
the one-eyed man is king.

>"Does that not tell you something about US priorities?"

I see you still refuse to put the blame on the UN, the body who endorsed the sanctions and then criminally circumvented them, or Saddam where it belongs.

By the way, if Saddam had rearmed where was the army? We set a military record with the taking of Iraq with virtually no resistance. Could it be that the intelligence of his rebuilding his military might was wrong.

It is humorous to see you engaged in the lies that you would claim the Bush administration engaged in.

>"Post-1991 the woes of the Iraqi people (first and foremost, our allowing Saddam to crush the Shiite revolt) are directly attributable to American actions."

Your premise being so wrong I don't have to counter your obvious play on emotion that follows.

We did allow Saddam to crush the rebellion that ensued after 1991 because were played the type of realistic politics that you would have us engage in now. Bush Sr. and his cabinet listened to the UN and pulled back from removing Saddam in order to appease the Russians, the French, and other commerical concerns.

To add to that, the sanctions were put in place to be circumvented by various UN members. The misery of the Iraqi people made many a UN politician wealthy. How many Americans profited from the Oil for Food scheme?

No Roy, the misery of the Iraqi people is a direct result of Saddam's military ambitions and tyrannical rule. Bush Sr. attempted to make nice with the other world powers and, happily, that was a mistake his son did not make.

I am sure that you perform some kind of "logic" in order to make this another case of Amerikkka causing all the troubles of the world but more rational minds actually remember what the real story was and is.

>"First, there is no functioning government in Iraq."

Why would you say that?

>"Second, there are few working hospitals, sanitation system or functioning grids for water and electricity. What we're presiding over is something else, similar in effect to and just as bad as, the sanctions."

You need to get with the times Roy. You are still posting as though it is still 2003.

>"It was a put up job, to get rid of a dictator who had outgrown his utility to us. You don't recall that he had some valid gripes against Kuwait for withholding proceeds owed him and for slant drilling into Iraqi fields? He went to his patron, the US, for permission to chastie. And it was not withheld."

Yet another conspiracy theory. Please present the evidence of this. Start with the "valid gripes" and then work your way to the end conclusion: the justified rape and pillaging of Kuwait. After you do that, you can present the evidence that we gave Saddam permission to invade.

>"The whole situation was handled similar to the way we dealt with our other worn out stooge, Manny Noriega. Go in, shoot the place up and declare someone else to be their president."

Excellent example. How is Panama faring these days Roy? I am sure you will be dismayed that the country is now prosperous and demilitarized.

I am wondering why you would deny the Iraqi people, whose pain you claim to feel, the chance to be so horribly downtrodden.

>"You forget who it was who made money on the sale. A majority of the money made handling the Oil for Food oil were American."

Name them. And then tell me what the percentage of those on the scandal list were Americans. You can lie if you wish but you can't really back it up.

>"We put Saddam up to his entire career, beginning with his employment in a CIA plot when he was a teenager, to whack Qassem. We've owned that guy all along. So once again, who owns the blame?"

He used us and we used him. It would seem you have no problem working with tyrants and dictators as long as it serves no American interest. For such an advocate of "realism" you seem to have very little grasp of political reality.

If Germany revived its Nazi past and began arming again would we lack any recourse to stop them? Say they took Poland again, would we be unable to lift a finger in response? After all, we rebuilt the government of Germany after our occupation. We did so, in fact, after removing a very popular leader who came to power in a legitimate fashion. We revived Germany's economy and helped them become an economic power in Europe. A power that was used to rebuild a vast war machine. How could we possibly oppose one of our own creations?

I would say we could because it would be the right thing to do. You could not and, to be consistent with your logic, we would have to accept New Germany's hold on Poland no matter what they did to its population.

Your point is infantile and useless. Much like most of moral relativistic ramblings. Much like our enemies you speak of the Great Satan with the same religious fervor. Your "observations" are devoid of all facts that do not fit the picture you wish to see.

So yes, from your vantage point, hindered by your inability to stand for what is right, or to even hold a consistent set of morals, I am on a high horse.

Inspections... what do you know about them?
>"So in fact, prior to the invasion, the inspections resumed."

And both Kay and Blix noted the run-arounds and misdirections of Saddam's cronies in there reports. That is not the complete and unfettered access spoken of in so many UN resolutions.

How long should we have waited? Until the UN, who was in Saddam's pocket, told us to go home?

Two different visions
I think you're in an information bubble. In the matter of imposing sanctions, and again in refusing to lift them after their adverse effects on the Iraqi population had become known, the UN was following the direction of the US and UK.

Try FPIF's version of events.

http://www.fpif.org/briefs/vol6/v6n01iraq.html

"By the way, if Saddam had rearmed where was the army?"

You must not have had your TV set turned on. The troops occupying Kuwait and southern Iraq were just Iraqi army regulars-- barely trained, ill-equipped cannon fodder. We mowed them down so fast we finally decided, on moving up to Baghdad, to just bury them alive on the Highway of Death. We were moving too fast to slow down and shoot them. So several hundred thousand surrendered, forcing us to stop for a couple of days just to disarm them and process them.

We elected never to face the Republican Guard. We had won a very cheap, easy victory. It was time to go home, or else press our luck by actually going into combat against what could have been a worthy enemy force.

So we declared ourselves the victors. That's not how you heard it?

Next, "Your premise being so wrong I don't have to counter your obvious play on emotion that follows.

"We did allow Saddam to crush the rebellion that ensued after 1991 because were played the type of realistic politics that you would have us engage in now. Bush Sr. and his cabinet listened to the UN and pulled back from removing Saddam in order to appease the Russians, the French, and other commerical concerns."

Poppa Bush was the closest he ever came to eloquence when he described his reasons for pulling back. And those were among them-- that his writ only ran to liberating Kuwait and he possessed no mandate to occupy Iraq under UN auspices. But this was an easy cop out. The principal reason was that he knew Iraq would disintegrate into three warring nations, very likely awarding the possession of Iraq's oil fields to a dubious bunch of Shiites. And that was decidedly NOT in his plan.

So the Shiites were the ones who took the fall. And that was exactly what I meant when I said

>"Post-1991 the woes of the Iraqi people (first and foremost, our allowing Saddam to crush the Shiite revolt) are directly attributable to American actions."

Next subject. RB: >"First, there is no functioning government in Iraq."

And you: "Why would you say that?"

Because the coalition collapsed the other day. Again, much as it hurts you, you ought to read a paper once in a while. The Maliki government is like a three legged stool with only two legs left-- and one of those badly broken.

Then me: >"Second, there are few working hospitals, sanitation system or functioning grids for water and electricity. What we're presiding over is something else, similar in effect to and just as bad as, the sanctions."

And you: "You need to get with the times Roy. You are still posting as though it is still 2003."

But things have only gotten worse since 2003-- much worse. You haven't heard about the humanitarian crisis? The four million refugees? Maybe you should read the Oxfam report. Or, just read anything.

Then >"We put Saddam up to his entire career, beginning with his employment in a CIA plot when he was a teenager, to whack Qassem. We've owned that guy all along. So once again, who owns the blame?"

And you: "He used us and we used him. It would seem you have no problem working with tyrants and dictators as long as it serves no American interest. For such an advocate of "realism" you seem to have very little grasp of political reality."

This is indicative of your mind set. Look where this appriach has gotten us, since 1946 when we adopted it on George Kennan's advice. We have systematically destabilized, overthrown and/or assassinated the leaders of more than a dozen nations on the principle that they were popular leaders, democratically elected in the hope that they could keep the wealth of their nations from being extracted by the West.

In their place we have put despots with their death squads. Labor organizers, reporters, honest judges and just ordinary people who speak up have been disappeared. It's as though Hitler won the war, as far as half the world is concerned.

That's the reason we have an Al Qaeda.

It's surprising in fact that there is not more violent outrage against us than there is. Bot most people would like to at least try to live in peace. So they endure the United States rather than die fighting it, while everything of value within their borders is purchased from corrupt leaders we prop up in power, and shipped home to the United States.

You miss the point, with your rambling on about how could we stop Germany. We ARE Germany. We keep places like Nigeria and Colombia in a perpetual turmoil because it serves our purposes and makes us rich. And if anyone complains? They must be terrorists. Or at least socialists.

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