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Thread: The War in Iraq

  1. #46

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    I guess my assumtion that lying is wrong because it is immoral is not shared. *I don't want to get all philosophical, but why then is lying wrong? *Isn't this what Bush is accused of?

    If we don't want a President who lies, we must demand more from candidates. *How are the two separated?

  2. #47

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    Your quote:
    What I am trying to hone in on, is the lack of intellectual honesty involved in most, if not all morally based arguements, and I mean of all stripes and positions. *Most things can be read two ways.
    The articles posted in this thread were not morally based.
    It does not mean that there is no moral component to lying.

  3. #48

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    I feel kind of stupid for belaboring this point, but I think in some way we are not speaking the same language. *
    By any chance do you hold the term 'moral' to be religious? *I don't, but think of it in terms of 'social contract.' *Would 'public trust' be a more euphemistically secular term for the same thing? *Would breaching the public trust be equivalent to immoral behavior? *I think yes. *
    I am in no way defending lying, or Bush's tactics, just trying to question the assumptions of columnists, and fellow forum members. *I am also trying to identify the position from which the vitriol that repeatedly excoriates Bush emmanates from. *IMO it is morally based judgement. *
    I am not looking for agreeance, just a tacit acknowledgement that my reasoning is not fallacious, or an education as to why my points or lines of investigation are misguided. *I have mentioned intellectual honesty, and practice what I preach as best I can, and welcome critique. *What I will not stand for is simple dismissal. *
    I like to believe the time I spend writing this is not wasted and everything discounted because I might cause examination of deeply held assuptions, that some are umcomfortable questioning. *To these people I am sorry for offending your sensibilities. *To the others, think and read with a grain of salt what I have written, just as you should everything. * *

  4. #49

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    Interesting that you ask whether there is a religious overtone against lying. *I have always found it intriguing that there is no "thou shalt not lie" commandment.

    I also tend to agree with your statement that arguments are often emotionally based, rather than being factual. *I have discovered for myself that it is pointless to listen for a politician's reasons for advocating a certain course of action. *Instead, it is important to learn all the facts, and then form an independent opinion as to whether such a course of action is warranted, or necessary. *I, for one, have always supported the war in Iraq, though never for the reasons that Bush commonly states.

  5. #50


    Kay: Clues Exist on Anthrax, Missiles Still in Iraq

    Monday, October 06, 2003

    WASHINGTON — Weapons hunters in Iraq are pursuing tips that point to the possible presence of anthrax (search) and Scud missiles (search) still hidden in the country, the chief searcher said Sunday.

    David Kay (search) told Congress last week that his survey team had not found nuclear, biological or chemical weapons so far. But he argued against drawing conclusions, saying he expects to provide a full picture on Iraq's weapons programs in six months to nine months.

    While lacking physical evidence for the presence anthrax or Scuds, Kay said tips from Iraqis are motivating the search for them.

    Critics, including many in Congress, say Kay's findings do not support most of the Bush administration's prewar assertions that the United States faced an imminent, serious threat from Iraq's Saddam Hussein because of widespread and advanced Iraqi weapons programs.

    President Bush has said the U.S.-led war on Iraq was justified despite the failure to find weapons.

    Kay reported that searchers found a vial of live botulinum (search) bacteria that had been stored since 1993 in an Iraqi scientist's refrigerator. The bacteria make botulinum toxin, which can be used as a biological weapon, but Kay has offered no evidence that the bacteria had been used in a weapons program.

    The live bacteria was among a collection of "reference strains" of biological organisms that could not be used to produce biological warfare agents.

    Kay said Sunday the same scientist told investigators that he was asked to hide another much larger cache of strains, but "after a couple of days he turned them back because he said they were too dangerous. He has small children in the house."

    Kay said the cache "contains anthrax and that's one reason we're actively interested in getting it." Kay, speaking on "Fox News Sunday," did not say whether the anthrax was live or a strain used only for anthrax research.

    Before the war, Iraqis said they had destroyed their supply of anthrax. Inspectors haven't found any and Iraqis haven't been able to provide evidence to satisfy investigators that they did destroy it. Experts note that old supplies of anthrax would have degraded by now.

    While the Bush administration argued before taking the country to war that Iraq's arsenal posed an imminent threat, much of what Kay discovered is that Iraq had interest in such weapons and was researching some agents.

    Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said Kay's report shows Saddam's clear intent to develop chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. He said, however, that the administration didn't tell the public the whole truth.

    "There is some evidence that the Bush administration exaggerated unnecessarily," he told "Fox News Sunday." Lieberman, a presidential candidate, said the exaggeration "did discredit what was otherwise a very just cause of fighting tyranny and terrorism."

    Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell have contended the vial of botulinum bacteria that Kay's team found is one strong piece of evidence of Saddam's weapons intent.

    Searches have been unsuccessful for the kind of long-range Scud missiles the Iraqis fired at Saudi Arabia and Israel in 1991. Many were destroyed during and after the Persian Gulf War, but the Bush administration had accused Iraq of continuing to hide Scuds.

    Kay said there are indications there may still be Scuds even though Iraq declared it got rid of them in the early 1990s.

    "We have Iraqis now telling us that they continued until 2001, early 2002, to be capable of mixing and preparing Scud missile fuel. Scud missile fuel is only useful in Scud missiles," he said. "Why would you continue to produce Scud missile fuel if you didn't have Scuds? We're looking for the Scuds."

    Kay's report to Congress said the information on fuel production came from Iraqi sources and has not been confirmed with documents or physical evidence.

    Weapons hunters still are looking for chemical weapons at scores of large ammunition storage sites throughout Iraq. Because of the size of the depots, searchers have examined only 10 of 130 sites so far, Kay said.

    "These are sites that contain -- the best estimate is between 600,000 and 650,000 tons of arms," he said. "That's about one-third of the entire ammunition stockpile of the much larger U.S. military."

    The Iraqis stored chemical weapons, often unmarked, among conventional munitions, so "you really have to examine each one," Kay said. He said 26 sites are on a critical list to be examined quickly.

  6. #51


    White House Highlights Progress on Iraq

    Wednesday, October 08, 2003

    WASHINGTON — The White House launched a public relations campaign on Wednesday, sending out National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to describe the details of the interim report by chief weapons inspector in Iraq David Kay.

    Rice told a foreign policy forum in Chicago that Saddam Hussein harbored ambitions to use unconventional weapons despite their not having been found yet.

    More importantly, Kay, whose team has been on the ground for three months, "is finding proof that Iraq never disarmed and never complied with U.N. inspectors."

    In fact, Rice suggested, if the U.N. Security Council knew last winter what Kay's group has uncovered now, it never would have rejected the U.S. call for war.

    "Right up until the end, Saddam lied to the Security Council. And let there be no mistake, right up to the end, Saddam Hussein continued to harbor ambitions to threaten the world with weapons of mass destruction and to hide his illegal weapons activity," she told the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations.

    Press Secretary Scott McClellan said the increase in speeches by Bush and his senior advisers is the president's way of fulfiling his promise to keep Americans informed about the war on terrorism.

    "This is a time when we are accelerating our efforts on a number of fronts and as we do, it's important to keep the American people informed," presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said.

    But, privately, aides say Rice's speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations marks the launch of a public relations campaign to counteract what officials see as largely negative media coverage of Kay's report on the hunt for Iraq's chemical and biological weapons. Bush himself said he is determined to break through what he called "the filter" that deprives Americans of a true sense of the accomplishments in Iraq.

    Kay spent two days on Capitol Hill last week in closed door meetings with legislators who said they were generally impressed with Kay's remarks despite the fact that no actual weapons of mass destruction have been found.

    Still, polls suggest fewer and fewer people feel reconstruction efforts in Iraq are going well, and Democrats have increased their attacks on the administration.

    Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said the multi-billion dollar post-war reconstruction effort shows that Iraq was never the threat it appeared to be.

    "Some people are not opposed to fixing that which we bombed and which we destroyed," Waters said. "But to go in and create an infrastructure that they have never had is a hard pill to swallow for the American public."

    Part of the public's hesitation comes from the growing number of U.S. military casualties. Three more U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq this week, adding to the number killed since the war ended, though not all from hostile action.

    In the meantime, Democrats are criticizing the administration's $87 billion supplemental budget request for Iraq as a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution intended to generate more international support falters.

    "Why should American troops take virtually every risk and the American taxpayer pay virtually every cost of what is happening in Iraq?" asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

    Turkey has offered troops to take the load off U.S. forces, but the Iraqi Governing Council opposes having its neighbors on Iraqi soil.

    Rice reported that Kay did find that Saddam Hussein had continued dozens of activities related to weapons of mass destruction and the inspectors found indications that he had committed chemical weapons tests on people.

    "Today, in Iraq, the killing fields are yielding up their dead," she said.

    Rice also seemed to indicate that the prior Bush administration had not finished its task when it originally went to war.

    "You don't leave a man with those ambitions, with that technology, with that history, with those weapons, with that ability to pull this all together with $3 billion in illegal revenues every year. You don't leave that threat in the middle of the Middle East," she said.

    Rice challenged the notion that Bush took the world to war in Iraq, saying that since the Gulf War ended 12 years ago, the United States and Britain maintained large naval forces in the Persian Gulf and enforced two no fly zones over Iraq.

    It was "hardly a state of peace," she said.

    The security adviser also said that while no evidence yet exists linking Saddam Hussein to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the possibility of a future attack "beyond the scale of 9-11 ... could not be put aside."

    Bush will give his own spin on the Kay report in an address to Thursday to National Guardsmen in New Hampshire. Friday is Vice President Cheney's turn in a speech in Washington.

    The PR campaign continues with high-profile trips to Iraq by Cabinet secretaries to illustrate areas of progress, such as the reopening of schools and the introduction of a new currency.

    Bush at times will reach beyond the Washington media to try to drive his point home with regional and local press corps, the officials said. The United States is also beefing up press operations in Baghdad to provide more live video opportunities and greater access to U.S. and Iraqi officials.

    Bush will devote all of his Saturday radio addresses in October to Iraq and will sit down for a series of interviews with regional media Monday to press his case.

    Fox News' Wendell Goler and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

  7. #52


    October 9, 2003

    Is Condi Gaslighting Rummy?



    It's easy to see why the Bush crowd is getting so tetchy.

    The itch to ditch officials who fritter away the public trust is growing, as Arnold and his broom bear down on Sacramento.

    And we know now that our first pre-emptive war was launched basically because Iraq had . . . a vial of Botox?

    Just about the scariest thing the weapons hunter David Kay could come up with was a vial of live botulinum, hidden in the home of an Iraqi biological weapons scientist.

    This has very dire implications for Beverly Hills and the East Side of Manhattan, areas awash in vials of Botox, the botulinum toxin that can either be turned into a deadly biological weapon or a pricey wrinkle smoother.

    And it may have dire implications for the Pentagon and White House if Americans come to believe that their trust was betrayed when the president and his team spread the impressions that Saddam was about to blow us up and that he was behind the 9/11 attacks.

    It doesn't help to have a former-NATO-commander-turned-presidential-contender running around telling the country that the Bush dream team is a bunch of dunces. Or a former-diplomat-turned-angry-husband-of-an-outed-spy running around telling the country that the Bush dream team is a bunch of backstabbing lawbreakers who are dead wrong on Iraq.

    The administration that never let you see it sweat is sweating, as two of its control freaks openly tug over control. The president's foreign policy duenna and his grumpy grampy over at the Pentagon are suddenly mud wrestling.

    Women who are discouraged at the ascension of Conan the Barbarian in Cal-ee-fornia can take heart. In this delicious gender-bender, Condoleezza Rice triumphs as the macho infighter, driving Rummy into a diva-like meltdown.

    The trigger was Monday's coverage of the Iraq Stabilization Group (a.k.a. Fat Chance Group); the group is a desperate bid to get a grip on Baghdad before the campaign starts by transferring power for postwar Iraq from the Pentagon to the national security adviser's office inside the White House.

    Condi used a trick she learned from Rummy: pre-emption. She outflanked the famous Washington infighter by talking about the new alignment to The New York Times before he had a chance to object.

    It was the first time the chesty defense czar — who had tried to freeze out the softies at State, which the Pentagon sneeringly refers to as "the Department of Nice" — had been downgraded by the president and outmaneuvered by a colleague.

    "And because he is a cantankerous egomaniac," one longtime Rummy watcher said, "he compounded his own problems by acknowledging it in public, further undermining his own stature."

    President Bush clearly realizes that Mr. Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz have gotten him into a fine mess. He wants his trusted Mother Hen, as he calls Condi, the woman who probably spends as much time with him as Laura — weekends at Camp David, vacations at the ranch, workouts at the gym — to make it all better. This will be the first time Ms. Rice, a Soviet expert who has functioned mostly so far as First Chum, will have her reputation on the line.

    Some Republicans worry that it's risky to move accountability for postwar Iraq closer to the Oval Office because then there's no one else to blame.

    In a meeting with foreign reporters on Tuesday in Colorado Springs, Rummy made no effort to mask his displeasure, saying he had not been consulted, even though Condi said he had, and cattily referring to the "little committees" of the N.S.C. When a German broadcast reporter pressed the defense secretary, he hissed: "I said I don't know. Isn't that clear? You don't understand English?"

    One of Rumsfeld's Rules is: "Avoid public spats. When a Department argues with other government agencies in the press, it reduces the President's options." Hmm.

    Maybe Rummy hasn't brushed up lately on the Washington rulebook he wrote in the 1970's — after his stints as President Gerald Ford's chief of staff and secretary of defense. Otherwise, he might have recalled this Rumsfeld rule before he bullied the world and ripped up Iraq: "It is easier to get into something than to get out of it."

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  8. #53


    Rumsfeld 'Roller Coaster' Ride Takes Downward Turn

    Sun Oct 12, 9:59 AM ET - Reuters

    By Will Dunham

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked recently to explain why he is taking such heat after enjoying "rock-star popularity" not too long ago among his admirers following U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    "Well, that's life, isn't it?" Rumsfeld told reporters.

    "Life's a roller coaster."

    In the roller coaster ride of Washington politics, Rumsfeld appears to be on a downward trajectory, according to U.S. officials and analysts.

    They cite as evidence President Bush's formation of an interagency Iraq Stabilization Group headed by Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser, to coordinate policy in Iraq, until now largely an in-house operation for Rumsfeld's Pentagon.

    "You have to view this as just taking Rumsfeld down a notch," Brookings Institution defense analyst Michael O'Hanlon said. "It certainly reflects a little bit less confidence in Rumsfeld. I think it would be pretty hard to portray it any other way. ... Rumsfeld's star has dimmed just a little."

    Rumsfeld has exerted considerable muscle in molding U.S. national security and foreign policy, often reaching into realms ordinarily left to other parts of the government such as the State Department and the CIA.

    His detractors inside and outside the administration are wondering whether Rumsfeld's frosty relations with Congress, alienation of U.S. allies, bruising battles with Secretary Colin Powell's State Department and stubborn refusal to change course in postwar Iraq are finally catching up with him.

    "I wonder how long he's going to have his job," said one administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "He's become a bit of a political liability."

    The White House has given Rumsfeld a public expression of confidence, although that does not always guarantee the safety of a Cabinet secretary's job.

    Republican consultant Charlie Black said he did not think Bush was dissatisfied with Rumsfeld or poised to fire him, but did not rule out Rumsfeld leaving the administration if Bush is re-elected in November 2004.

    "From everything I see and observe and hear from people, I think he's perfectly safe," Black said.

    No one doubts Rumsfeld's continuing clout. Even with the organizational change, instituted amid mounting public concern about the cost of efforts in Iraq in terms of U.S. money and lives, the White House said the Pentagon retains primary responsibility in Iraq policy.


    Rumsfeld initially displayed annoyance over the announcement of Rice's Iraq Stabilization Group and said Bush never talked to him about it beforehand, then later clarified that he did not believe the White House was going behind his back to diminish his power. O'Hanlon said Rumsfeld's public complaints only drew attention to the situation "and he essentially contributed to his own humbling."

    Even before the U.S.-led invasion that toppled President Saddam Hussein, Bush assigned Rumsfeld, rather than Powell, the lead role in postwar Iraq. But the six months since the fall of Baghdad have been difficult ones, with the 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq facing continued guerrilla attacks while ordinary Iraqis complain about lingering lawlessness in some places and slowness in restoring basic services.

    Critics have questioned the quality of the Pentagon's postwar planning, anticipation of problems and speed in addressing them. In fact, some House of Representatives Republicans, displeased with Rumsfeld's progress in Iraq, recently contemplated giving Powell rather than Rumsfeld control over the $20.3 billion Bush is seeking for Iraqi reconstruction.

    Defense analyst Charles Pena of the Cato Institute said if things were going really well in Iraq, the White House would not be making any changes.

    "But what's driving the train is an election a year away," Pena said.

    "The White House is looking at the poll numbers. The president's approval rating, not just on Iraq but everything else, has been in steady decline since May 1 (when he declared major combat over in Iraq). Whereas previously Iraq and the war on terrorism were seen by the political operators in the White House as what would win the president re-election, they are now seen as what could lose this election for the president."

    Defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute said Rumsfeld's actual policy influence has not receded.

    Thompson said the White House, despite assuming more responsibility for Iraq decisions, has made no policy changes. He noted U.S. policy will continue to be administered on the ground in Iraq primarily by the Defense Department.

    And Thompson said Rumsfeld remains very much in harmony ideologically with Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney on national security issues -- much more so than Powell.

    Copyright © 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

  9. #54


    Army Letter-Writing Campaign Draws Criticism

    Tuesday, October 14, 2003

    WASHINGTON — A battalion commander took it upon himself to provide form letters for his troops to send to their hometown newspapers, the White House said Tuesday.

    The identical letters, which were discovered in a series of Gannett publications (search) over the weekend, paint a glowing picture of progress in Iraq and say U.S. forces are being welcomed with open arms there.

    The series of letters-to-the-editor from soldiers in Iraq raised questions about whether the Bush administration has tried to get troops on the ground to join in on a newly-launched public relations campaign in which the administration is trying to promote positive developments in Iraq.

    The White House launched its campaign last week to counter what President Bush called a negative "filter" in the mainstream press that has prevented the good news in Iraq from reaching the American public.

    On Monday, Bush spoke one-on-one with reporters from smaller news organizations. He said not only is the press not presenting a full picture, but he is willing to go around it.

    "We'd like the people to know the truth about what's going on. I am mindful of the filter through which some news travels and sometimes you have to go over the heads of the filter and speak directly to the people," Bush said.

    On Tuesday, Press Secretary Scott McClellan sidestepped questions about whether the president believes "the truth" is being told by major press outlets, but said it certainly isn't getting the notice it deserves.

    "There is a part of the story that is not getting the attention that we believe it should receive. But on the security front, we are continuing to make important progress there as well because we're taking the fight to the Saddam [Hussein] holdouts, the remnants of the former regime. We are taking the fight to the foreign terrorists," McClellan said.

    Officials at the Pentagon and the White House have said the administration was not involved in the letter-writing campaign by some soldiers in Company A, 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment (search). The letters, bearing the names and signatures of soldiers on the ground in the city of Kirkuk (search), were written by some of the unit's officers. They were then forwarded to the military's "Hometown News Release Program," based at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

    The Hometown News Release Program (search) encourages soldiers to write their local newspapers to announce promotions and personal milestones as well as other slice-of-life stories.

    "Think about how terrific it would be for your family to see their loved one's "story" in print," the program's Web site reads, adding that "more than 500,000 releases are mailed annually to 10,000-plus daily and weekly newspapers across the country, promoting the accomplishments of more than 150,000 military personnel."

    Staffers with the program forward the letters to the papers, but it is up to the newspaper to publish the letters or discard them.

    According to news reports, the identical letters were discovered in various papers owned by the same companies. Some soldiers said that their platoon sergeant asked them to sign the letters if they agreed, and so they did. Others said they were not aware their names were on the letters until family back home congratulated them on having their letters published, reported USA Today.

    The Hometown News Release Program was not meant for letters to the editor, officials at the Pentagon told Fox News. But sending an opinion letter does not necessarily violate the rules of the program.

    However, officials said they do believe that sending such letters violates common sense.

    "What they did wasn't illegal, but it also didn't live up to the intent of the program," a senior defense official said. "They didn't maliciously do anything wrong. What they did was within their rights, but they shouldn't have used this program to do it. This wasn't the venue.

    "It would have been better still if each [serviceman] had written and signed his own letter," the official added.

    The U.S. military's public affairs office in Baghdad has slapped the 503rd Regiment on the wrist, telling the unit not to send anymore of them, but no action will be taken against the 503rd. Officials said the Pentagon considers the matter closed.

    Fox News' Wendell Goler, Bret Baier and Ian McCaleb contributed to this report.

  10. #55


    October 15, 2003

    Holding Our Noses


    I haven't written about Iraq lately because, frankly, it felt like shooting fish in a barrel.

    It was sporting to write columns opposing the war back in January, when the White House was conjuring enough Iraqi anthrax "to kill several million people," as well as hordes of cheering Iraqis casting flowers on our soldiers. These days, with that anthrax as elusive as Saddam himself, with the people we've liberated busy killing us, with the bill for Iraq coming in at $90,000 a minute — well, criticizing the war just seems too easy, like aiming a bomb at Bambi.

    So I won't do it.

    In any case, the real question that confronts us now is not whether invading Iraq was the height of hubris, but this: Given that we are there, how do we make the best of it?

    I'm afraid that too many in my dovish camp think that just because we shouldn't have invaded, we also shouldn't stay — or at least we shouldn't help Mr. Bush pay the bill. Mr. Bush's $87 billion budget request for Iraq and Afghanistan is getting pummeled on Capitol Hill this week, partly because people are angry at being misled and patronized by this administration.

    Granted, some elements of the budget (like much of our Iraq operation) seem too rooted in our own expectations. In northern Iraq, U.S. engineers reported that it would take $50 million to bring a cement factory in the area to Western standards. The U.S. general there, lacking that kind of money, found some Iraqis who got it going again for $80,000.

    And people like those in my hometown of Yamhill, Ore., have trouble understanding why the administration wants to buy Iraqis new $50,000 garbage trucks. On my last visit, I was struck how Oregonians, seeing their local school programs slashed, resent having to subsidize Iraq. That resentment runs deep: the latest USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll shows Americans opposing the Iraq budget request, 57 to 41 percent.

    So my fear is that we will now compound our mistake of invading Iraq by refusing to pay for our occupation and then pulling out our troops prematurely. If Iraq continues to go badly, if Democrats continue to hammer Mr. Bush for his folly, if Karl Rove has nightmares of an election campaign fought against a backdrop of suicide bombings in Baghdad, then I'm afraid the White House may just declare victory and retreat.

    In that case, Iraq would last about 10 minutes before disintegrating into a coup d'etat or a civil war.

    Couldn't happen, you say? We let Afghanistan fall apart after the victory over the Soviet-backed government in 1992. We let Somalia disintegrate after our pullout in 1993-94. And right now, incredibly, the administration is letting Afghanistan fall apart all over again.

    If that happens in Iraq, American credibility will be devastated, Al Qaeda will have a new base for operations, and Iraqis will be even worse off than they were in the days of Saddam Hussein.

    Hmm. Who knows? In that event, Saddam might return as the warlord of Tikrit.

    How do we reduce the chance that Iraq will collapse? First, by holding our noses and passing the president's budget request for Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraqis I've interviewed are often suspicious of U.S. intentions ("You're planning to steal our oil!"), but they're willing to give us a chance if we can stop rapes and get factories open. Slashing that budget — or turning it into a loan to be repaid with oil revenues — would destroy the Iraqi economy and convince many wavering Iraqis that we are conquerors who are best dealt with by blowing us up.

    We can also shore up Iraq by arranging an early transfer of sovereignty back to Iraqis, as Kofi Annan and others have suggested — a move the administration initially sputtered about but now seems to accept. Sure, it may be only a symbolic gesture, but anyone who says symbols don't matter doesn't understand nationalism.

    The greatest foreign policy mistake the U.S. has made over the last half-century has been its obliviousness to nationalism. Today as well, plenty of ordinary Iraqis would prefer to be misruled by Iraqis than ruled by Americans.

    Above all, to stave off catastrophe in Iraq, we must keep our troops there and provide security, for that is the glue that keeps Iraq together. I believe that President Bush was wrong to go into Iraq, but he's right about staying there.

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  11. #56


    Bill Berkowitz

    Bush's good news offensive

    Series of orchestrated happy-talk media events can't hide daily reality of U.S. soldiers and Iraqis killed and wounded

    It appears I spoke too soon. In a recent column, I wrote that President Bush's campaign to spread the good news about Iraq was on its last legs. In reality, Phase One of Operation Good News appears to have played poorly, but in the past week the administration has bounced back with a series of high-profile speeches and piercing jabs at the media.

    On Friday, October 10, vice president Dick Cheney wowed a Heritage Foundation audience with a reminder that the war on terrorism still has a long way to go. The following day, President Bush's weekly radio address focused on some of the everyday successes of the occupation. By Tuesday, the president was giving interviews to regional television outlets, sidestepping what he believes is the major networks' predilection for reporting only the bad news. At the same time, form letters in support of the administration's policy in Iraq -- purported to be written by soldiers in Iraq -- were published in a batch of newspapers around the country.

    By the end of the first days of the new PR offensive, several public opinion polls showed the president regaining some of his lost support.

    The good news offensive

    According to Reuters, President Bush's weekly radio address "hailed the launch of the country's new currency as a sign of economic promise." Removing the image of Saddam Hussein from the Iraqi dinar was "helping Iraqis to rebuild their economy after a long era of corruption and misrule," Bush said. "For three decades, Iraq's economy served the interest only of its dictator and his regime. The new currency symbolizes Iraq's reviving economy."

    "With our assistance, Iraqis are building the roads and ports and railways necessary for commerce," said Bush. "We have helped to establish an independent Iraqi central bank. Working with the Iraqi Governing Council, we are establishing a new system that allows foreign investors to confidently invest capital in Iraq's future."

    The vice president showed up at the Washington, DC-based Heritage Foundation to remind his buds that we are still deeply involved with the war on terrorism. Characterized by The New York Times' Maureen Dowd as a "masterpiece of demagogy," Cheney stirred up his audience by telling them that "Terrorists are doing everything they can to gain even deadlier means of striking us. From the training manuals we found in the caves of Afghanistan to the interrogations of terrorists that we've captured, we have learned of their ambitions to develop or acquire chemical, biological or nuclear weapons."

    The vice president once again trucked out the administration's many unproven assertions, including the ones that Saddam Hussein "had an established relationship with Al Qaeda, providing training to Al Qaeda members in... poisons, gases, and making conventional bombs." It is clear that when you're in the middle of a handsomely designed PR campaign, the truth matters little.

    By Tuesday, ABC was reporting that the president had tired of the "filter" of news reports coming from Iraq and he was attempting to "go around the press... through television outlets that do not routinely cover the White House."

    "There's a sense that people in America aren't getting the truth," he told Hearst-Argyle Television. "I'm mindful of the filter through which some news travels, and sometimes you just have to go over the heads of the filter and speak directly to the people."

    It has also been reported that first lady Laura Bush may be enlisted for the new offensive.

    What's next? Might the president pop up as an umpire during the World Series or a referee on Monday Night Football? Will he don an apron and cook up one of his specialty dishes with Emeril? Turn up hawking the 12-inch President George W. Bush Elite Force Aviator doll complete with naval aviator flight uniform on the Home Shopping Network? Will the first couple show up on Friends, The Simpsons or Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?

    The reality of bad news

    Wherever he and the vice president choose to perform their rhetorical jujitsu, you can bet they won't mention any of the following:

    # On October 14, a 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment soldier was found dead in the Euphrates River near Hadithah and two 1st Armored Division soldiers were killed in the Kadhimyah district of Baghdad. On October 13, four British soldiers were wounded in two separate explosions in Basra; a US soldier was killed and another wounded when their Bradley fighting vehicle hit a landmine near Baiji, 220 kilometers north of Baghdad; one 4th Infantry Division soldier was killed and two were wounded in a mid-morning attack; one Fourth Infantry Division soldier was killed in Tikrit at 1:15 PM; U.S. soldiers were ambushed northeast of Baghdad, killing two and wounding two.

    # Three hundred and thirty-two U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq since the March 20 invasion -- nine since October 9. More than 1,830 soldiers have been wounded since the start of the war -- an average of nearly nine a day. To my knowledge, the president has made just one visit to see the wounded.

    # The military recently launched an investigation into the unusual number of suicides among U.S. military personnel in Iraq. To date, according to USA Today, at least 11 soldiers and three Marines have committed suicide and another dozen deaths are under investigation. Another 478 soldiers have been sent home from Iraq for mental-health issues.

    The number of suicides has caused the Army to be concerned," Lt. Col. Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, psychiatrist at the Army's Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., told USA Today. "They are ... looking at the stresses on the troops, how well the troops are coping and how well the basic principles of battlefield psychiatry are working," Ritchie added.

    # According to the Associated Press, there have been at least eight major bombings in Iraq since May:

    "Oct. 12: A suicide car bomber attacked the Baghdad Hotel in downtown Baghdad, killing himself and one other person, at least 32 were wounded.

    Oct. 9: A suicide bomber drove his Oldsmobile into a police station in Baghdad's Sadr City district, killing himself and nine other people.

    Sept. 25: A planted bomb damaged a hotel housing the offices of NBC News, killing a Somali guard and slightly injuring an NBC sound technician.

    Sept. 22: A suicide car bomber struck a police checkpoint outside U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, killing himself and an Iraqi policeman who stopped him, and wounding 19 people.

    Sept. 9: A suicide bomber targeted a U.S. intelligence compound in northern Iraq, killing three people and seriously wounding four American intelligence officers.

    Aug. 29: A car bomb explodes outside a mosque in the Shiite Muslim holy city of Najaf, killing more than 85 people including Shiite leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim.

    Aug. 19: A truck bomber struck at the headquarters of the United Nations at the Canal Hotel, killing 23 people, including the top U.N. envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

    Aug. 7: A car bomb shattered a street outside the walled Jordanian Embassy, killing at least 19 people including two children."

    The form letter flap

    Lt. Col. Dominic Caraccilo, the commander of the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Infantry Regiment, has now acknowledged that he orchestrated the bogus letter writing campaign. The letters -- all written in the same words -- discussed the successes the soldiers experienced in rebuilding Iraq: "The quality of life and security for the citizens has been largely restored, and we are a large part of why that has happened.

    "The majority of the city has welcomed our presence with open arms," the letters read.

    Prior to Lt. Col. Caraccilo's admission, an investigation by Washington state-based newspaper, The Olympian, found that the form letters "describing their successes rebuilding Iraq" had appeared "in newspapers across the country as U.S. public opinion on the mission sour[ed]." Lt. Col. Caraccilo emailed ABC News that the letter was drafted by his staff and he edited it and reviewed it and then provided it to the soldiers. "Every soldier who signed that letter did so after a careful read," he said. "Some, who could find the time, decided to send their own versions, while others chose not to take part in the initiative."

    Putting 'bad news' in perspective

    Counterspin Central put the administration's whining about wanting to hear more good news from Iraq in perspective:

    "What if, on September 11, 2001...someone had told us:

    'Hey...things are not so bad in the United States. You have the world's largest economy. The most powerful military in the world. A thriving Democracy, clean water, a good health system. Stop focusing on one TINY part of the United States [The New York/Washington D.C./Pennsylvania triangle], where a measly 3000 people were killed...and tens of billions of dollars in destruction was caused... by terrorist attacks using hijacked commercial aircraft.'

    Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His WorkingForChange column Conservative Watch documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the American Right.

    (c) 2003 Working Assets Online. All rights reserved

    Opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of Working Assets, nor is Working Assets responsible for objectionable material accessed via links from this site.

  12. #57


    October 22, 2003


    A Double-Barreled Attack on American War Policy


    The Bush Assault on the World Order"
    By John Newhouse
    194 pages. Alfred A. Knopf. $23.

    As the burdens of stabilizing Iraq mount, many Americans are wondering whether their government has gone off course. John Newhouse's indictment of President Bush's foreign policy thus appears at an opportune moment, offering a lucid and accessible account of how he says the administration has done more to imperil the United States than to enhance its security.

    Mr. Newhouse begins with the ideas that inform policy, exposing the dangers in the Bush doctrine's twin pillars of preventive war and pre-eminence. By embracing the principle of prevention, Mr. Bush risks mayhem by setting a precedent that individual countries can decide for themselves when to start a war against a suspected threat.

    The author says that a doctrine of prevention also hampers democratic oversight by making decisions of war and peace depend on intelligence information not open to public scrutiny. (Several of the intelligence reports that Mr. Bush made public to justify the Iraq war were of dubious reliability.) Mr. Newhouse additionally points out that Mr. Bush's penchant for prevention skews priorities, soaking up resources to rebuild Iraq that should be spent countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

    A doctrine of American pre-eminence is similarly problematic. The United States does have uncontested military dominance, but Mr. Bush's exaggeration of "the role and utility of raw military power" has fueled his dismissive attitude toward allies. An illusory sense of omnipotence has also made the administration underestimate the importance of diplomacy, leading to the uncompromising stances that have cost the United States so much good will abroad.

    Mr. Newhouse notes that America's standing abroad will begin to recover "only if and when Washington softens its approach to the world by becoming less unilateral and threatening and more inclined to operate with sensitivity to the views of others."

    Mr. Newhouse next moves from principle to practice, cataloging the unwelcome effects of Mr. Bush's doctrinal excesses. His critique of the Iraq war contends that Mr. Bush predicated military action on faulty assumptions, bungled prewar diplomacy at the United Nations and failed to prepare for postwar reconstruction. The Democrats come in for their own criticism when he says they were "intimidated, reluctant to take on a president who had with some skill made national security the consuming issue."

    In the strongest section of "Imperial America" Mr. Newhouse recounts the lost opportunities arising from Mr. Bush's fixation on Saddam Hussein. The list is long and troubling.

    At its top is Pakistan, a country that "is likely to stand out in the years ahead as the single most dangerous place in today's world" because of a volatile mix of nuclear weapons, political instability, terrorist networks and Islamic radicalism, but Washington focused instead on the lesser danger that emanated from Baghdad. The same goes for North Korea. Despite Pyongyang's open efforts to build nuclear weapons, Mr. Bush played down that threat to keep Americans focused on the impending campaign against Iraq.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Newhouse contends, the Bush administration missed a chance to recast relations with Iran, a country whose intellectual and social capital gives it the potential to anchor regional stability. After the events of Sept. 11, the Iranian government supported — although tentatively — the American campaign in Afghanistan, and moderates in Tehran were gaining ground against the radical clerics. Nonetheless Mr. Bush branded Iran a member of the axis of evil, undercutting the reformers and scuttling chances for rapprochement between Washington and Tehran.

    These lost opportunities are all the more worrisome against the backdrop of the damage that Mr. Bush has done to the Atlantic alliance, Mr. Newhouse says. With the United States and its key partners in Europe already drifting apart before the Iraq war, it remains to be seen whether the alliance survives the strategic rift that has opened across the Atlantic.

    Mr. Newhouse's account of the political and ideological sources of these strategic missteps is less compelling than his critique of American policy. He tends to assign a false uniformity to Mr. Bush and his advisers, lumping them together (except Secretary of State Colin L. Powell) as hawkish neoconservatives.

    Mr. Newhouse insists, for example, that Mr. Bush "arrived in Washington a convinced unilateralist." But Mr. Bush hails from America's inward-looking heartland, explaining why, before Sept. 11, his isolationist instincts were far more pronounced than his appetite for global dominion. The heartland's distaste for imperial adventure is one of the main reasons Mr. Bush's popularity is now lagging.

    Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz, may both be conservative hawks. But Mr. Rumsfeld, it has been reported, holds a more circumscribed notion of America's role in the world and shares little of Mr. Wolfowitz's enthusiasm for an expansive American effort to bring democracy and pluralism to the greater Middle East. Their disagreements over the scope of the American mission in Iraq contributed to the inadequacy of planning for postwar stabilization.

    Mr. Newhouse might have drawn more heavily on his long and distinguished career as a journalist to explore these differences and shed more light on the internal workings of Mr. Bush's foreign policy team. The White House's tight-fisted approach to the flow of information keeps it on message but leaves the American people in the dark about how policy is formulated and how much influence is wielded by key players like Vice President Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser.

    Americans need to know more about what goes on behind the scenes if they are to act on Mr. Newhouse's ominous warning that "American military power is constantly growing, although the country's overall security may be declining, if only because its priorities are skewed and unbalanced."

    Charles A. Kupchan is a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  13. #58


    Rumsfeld Memo Questions U.S. Terror Fight

    Wednesday, October 22, 2003

    WASHINGTON — The United States faces "a long, hard slog" in the fight against Al Qaeda, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in a pointed memo raising questions about the future of the war on terrorism.

    Rumsfeld said the U.S.-led coalitions would win in Afghanistan and Iraq, but so far have had mixed results. He wrote that the United States "has made reasonable progress in capturing or killing the top 55 Iraqis" but has made "somewhat slower progress" tracking down top Taliban leaders who sheltered Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

    "My impression is that we have not yet made truly bold moves, although we have made many sensible, logical moves in the right direction, but are they enough?" Rumsfeld wrote.

    The defense secretary also raised the possibility of creating a new team or agency in the federal government specifically to fight terrorism worldwide.

    The Pentagon released a copy of the memo, dated Oct. 16 and first reported by USA Today on Wednesday. The memo was addressed to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz (search), Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers (search) and two of their deputies. In it, Rumsfeld offered a much more stark assessment of the global war on terrorism than he often gives publicly.

    "It is pretty clear that the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog," he wrote.

    The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (search), Joe Biden of Delaware, said the memo "is a little different than the sort of self-assurance that was communicated to us in Congress."

    "This is the first sort of introspection that I have even whiffed coming out of the civilian side of the Defense Department," Biden told reporters on Capitol Hill.

    White House press secretary Scott McClellan, traveling with President Bush in Australia, voiced support for Rumsfeld. "That's exactly what a strong and capable secretary of defense like Secretary Rumsfeld should be doing," said McClellan.

    "The president has always said it will require thinking differently. It's a different type of war," McClellan said.

    Bush talked about the war on terrorism with reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Canberra, where he planned to discuss it with Prime Minister John Howard.

    "I've always felt that there's a tendency of people to kind of seek a comfort zone and hope that the war on terror is over," Bush said. "And I view it as a responsibility of the United States to remind people of our mutual obligations to deal with the terrorists."

    Rumsfeld's spokesman, Larry Di Rita, told reporters the memo was meant to raise "big questions that deserve big thinking" and preserve a sense of urgency about where the war is heading.

    Rumsfeld wrote "we are just getting started" in battling Ansar al-Islam (search), an Iraq-based terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda.

    And he asked: "Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?"

    Madrassas are Islamic religious schools. Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials say some schools run by radical groups indoctrinate students to join in an anti-American holy war.

    Rumsfeld's memo raises the possibility of creating "a private foundation to entice radical madrassas to a more moderate course" and questions how to block the funding of the extremist schools.

    Sounding a theme Rumsfeld repeatedly has voiced in the past two years, the memo says the Defense Department is too big and slow to effectively fight small groups of terrorists.

    "An alternative might be to try to fashion a new institution, either within DoD or elsewhere," Rumsfeld wrote.

    This article is exactly true. Everyone who says that the war has gone too far is 100% wrong. It hasn't yet gone far enough. There are still terrorists being trained and recruited in the Phillipines, Chechnya, Kashmir, some parts of Africa, and over much of the Middle East. Until people stop complaining and criticizing and let this President fight the terrorists we probably will not solve any of these problems. If the President said he wanted to send troops into the Northern Pakistan border with Afghanistan, where many think Bin Laden is hiding, people would probably complain they want the war to be over. It's the same case if he would want to go after one of the many terrorist groups in Iran, Hezbollah or Islamic Jihad in Syria, Abu Sayyaf in the Phillipines. People would protest. If people really want to stop terrorists they have to stop whining about the war taking too long. Because it will never be completed if they keep whining.

  14. #59


    Rumsfeld's memo raises the possibility of creating "a private foundation to entice radical madrassas to a more moderate course" and questions how to block the funding of the extremist schools.
    And this won't cause a backlash? How can we insure funding won't be funnelled by corrupt clerics, etc.

    Sounding a theme Rumsfeld repeatedly has voiced in the past two years, the memo says the Defense Department is too big and slow to effectively fight small groups of terrorists.

    "An alternative might be to try to fashion a new institution, either within DoD or elsewhere," Rumsfeld wrote.
    A secret worldwide terror fighting force... with full Patriot act priveleges and classified clearance? I'm not even a terrorist and I'm terrified. :shock:

  15. #60


    That's funny, I'm more afraid of terrorists than people trying to protect me from terrorists. In fact, I am grateful to people trying to fight terrorists. Not only that, but if our current military is too big and bulky to do the anti-terrorist job then I would hope there'd be a change. After all when you have a problem you should do something to fix it instead of whine and complain. If we need a more nimble military or a seperate institution to fight terrorists then we should create that institution. The Homeland Security Department is new and great for defending against terrorism, however in the case of terrorists the best defense is a good offense. We need to improve our anti-terrorist capabilities for the offensive side of the war. I'm surprised this hasn't happened sooner.

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