February 16, 2016

"They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none. And they knew there were none."

Said Donald Trump at the last debate.  Marc A. Thiessen, at WaPo, says:
This is uninformed left-wing claptrap. Trump’s allegation was definitively refuted by the bipartisan WMD commission led by former senator Chuck Robb (D-Va.) and Judge Laurence Silberman. Silberman has called Trump’s allegation that Bush lied “dangerous,” writing “it is one thing to assert . . . that the Iraq war was ill-advised. It is quite another to make the horrendous charge that President Bush lied to or deceived the American people about the threat from Saddam.”...
Thiessen goes on to reveal his hopes that Trump's "rantings should backfire" and hurt him in South Carolina, where George W. Bush is, we're told, popular, and he's been suddenly released to pump up his as-yet-unpopular brother. Trump also put some blame on GWB for 9/11:
The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign, remember that. That’s not keeping us safe. . . . And George Bush — by the way, George Bush had the chance, also, and he didn’t listen to the advice of his CIA.
That's not "truther" territory, though Thiessen dishonestly calls it such: "It turns out the front-runner for the GOP nomination is a 9/11 'truther'...." A truther believes or explores the belief there was a conspiracy behind 9/11 that included GWB. Trump is obviously only adverting to the warning that Osama bin Laden was determined somehow, somewhere to strike in the U.S.
This is the realm of conspiracy theory. In Republican circles, it is heresy. And in normal times, it would be disqualifying for a candidate seeking the GOP presidential nomination.
Thiessen is plainly overdoing it, making accusations that it takes 3 seconds of clear thought to reject. Ironically, he's the one ranting. Trump's statements are strong and surprising, but they're not wild swinging. These aren't stray thoughts that popped out of his head, but carefully framed statements. Trump comes across as spontaneous, but he is prepared. The statements are simple, but these are thought-out punches, not ravings. Thiessen and others would like us to think of these statements as ravings, as if Trump is deranged. A better question is: Why is Trump taking this track?

Rush Limbaugh got into that zone of inquiry yesterday:
And the things that Trump said and did Saturday night came out of nowhere.  They didn't make any sense.  Here we are in a Republican primary, and Donald Trump, out of the blue, starts blaming the Bush family for 9/11, for knowing that the intelligence was made up, that there never were any weapons of mass destruction, and they knew it, Trump said. Michael Moore doesn't even say that.  The World Trade Center came down when George W. Bush was president so don't anybody tell me, Trump said, he kept us safe.  He jumped all over the Bush family and the Iraq war...
And, "Donald Trump defended Planned Parenthood. Not the abortion stuff, he said, but the fact that they do great things for women's health." So, Rush asks, "What's going on?... Donald Trump sounded like the Daily Kos blog... like the Democrat Underground... like any average host on MSNBC... he went to liberal Democratville." Rush doesn't go to the stupid/crazy/dangerous explanation. He says: "Trump strategically was making a move on independents and Democrats in South Carolina since it's [an] open [primary]." And he's not just trying to win the South Carolina primary. Rush theorizes that Trump is looking ahead to the electoral college and trying to get the polling to show that he could beat the Democrat in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and even New York. That is, before the nomination is sewn up, we could be seeing a potential to win (in November) states that the other GOP candidates might write off from day one.

Rush talks about the anger we're seeing in both parties' races and how the anger roiling up needs somewhere to go:

Why is Trump saying these things about Iraq and 9/11? (Multiple answers ok.)
 
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190 comments:

damikesc said...

, George Bush had the chance, also, and he didn’t listen to the advice of his CIA.That's not "truther" territory, though Thiessen dishonestly calls it such

Gotta disagree that this isn't Truther nonsense.

Bush "allowed" it to happen by "ignoring" non-actionable intel. It is expecting a person to be able to see the future in a way that nobody could reasonably be expected to deal with.

Note: his criticism of Bush isn't his terrible spending. It isn't even that Iraq was a bad idea.

It's that Bush had a desire, of some sort, to attack Iraq and intentionally lied to make it happen.

That is pure insanity. It being well thought-out doesn't make it less bat shit insane.

tim in vermont said...

Never go full Michael Moore Donald. Next thing you know he will be ranting about how O.J. was innocent.

Rick said...

the warning that Osama bin Laden was determined somehow, somewhere to strike in the U.S.

It's hard to believe this intel didn't lead to arrests. I hope we awarded a medal to whoever came up with it.

Trumpeting this isn't going to help the Donald. This is trial and error while counting on his supporters' willingness to forgive missteps. He seems to think each overreach proves his overreach limit is even bigger. But in reality people have a certain reservoir of tolerance and he's burning through it at an alarming rate. At some point their patience will run out, and it's likely to do so after he makes a serious charge with nothing to support it.

rhhardin said...

Being lawsuit-happy isn't a good sign for power of the state.

AReasonableMan said...

Trump is clearly angry at Bush and views them collectively as incompetent. 9/11 was much more personal for NYC residents than it was for the rest of the country and they, not surprisingly, are more likely to view it as massive failure on the part of the government,in its role to 'keep us safe'. On this issue he is merely stating the obvious.

On the WMD as a rationale for the Iraq war he is on slightly more shaky ground because it involves understanding the motives of the major players. Clearly, based on the results, those motives were not merely to 'keep us safe'. Exactly what they were is a judgement call. Rand Paul has previously questioned their motives for similar reasons.

PB said...

Trump's claims are not consistent with reality, but they do fit with current Democrat orthodoxy which stops just short of trutherism.

tim in vermont said...

It's hard to believe this intel didn't lead to arrests. I hope we awarded a medal to whoever came up with it.

Exactly, we should have indiscriminately rounded up A-rabs who have any conceivable connection to any possible plot to strike in the US! You know what, if we had done this, and somehow prevented 9-11, the same people would be screaming racism and profiling and demanding justice for the "aggrieved."

But I digress. This is Donald using the truther card on Bush the same way he used the "Your hubby's a rapist" card on Hillary. Not to mention that he can get some support from the Sanders people when Hillary grinds Bernie into the dust using her insider power.

tim in vermont said...

He would do well to point out that Hillary's husband poked Afghanistan with a stick in the couple years prior to 9-11, and that Hillary has now poked Syria and Libya with a stick too. The blowback from these two incompetent players on the world stage has been horrific. And yet, here she is, demanding ultimate power.

tim in vermont said...

Our foreign policy is in desperate need of a "reset." The Clinton and Bush names, like Hapsburg and Plantagenet ought to be left to history and we ought to move on. This would be a very interesting time if I didn't love my country so much.

Virgil Hilts said...

I thought Trump's outbursts were really disturbing, but I tend to agree with Rush that the specific lines were thought out in advance. A lot of people think Jeb would make a better President than either his brother or his father, but if Republicans and Independents had fond memories of the Bush years Jeb would probably not be in 4th or 5th place. I think Trump wins S.Carolina and sees a little but not huge dip. Jeb finishes 5th.

Beaumont said...

Trump is saying, in some fashion, what many of us believe about the Bush Administration, i.e. that the Bush administration's perceptions of the World and the U.S. economy were not reality based and the Iraq debicle and the deep economic recession/depression were disasterous outcomes of the Bush administration's dangerously impaired judgment. Many americans (on the right and on the left) share this belief and are fearful that Republican and Conservative leaders are dismissive of their concerns.

Brando said...

"It isn't even that Iraq was a bad idea.

It's that Bush had a desire, of some sort, to attack Iraq and intentionally lied to make it happen."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but even Obama never went so far as to suggest Bush intentionally lied to get us into Iraq, and knew 9/11 was about to happen and chose to do nothing. This is extremist nonsense, and now Trump has shown that he is not just a "Birther" (long after most "birthers" gave up and accepted that Obama was born in Hawaii) but a "Truther". This is an unstable man, or at least a con job pretending to be unstable to get attention.

Rush seems to be grasping at straws here to justify the candidate he likes. Liberals who believe not just that Bush missed some clues prior to 9/11 and made a huge mistake in invading Iraq, but actually believe that Bush knew 9/11 was going to happen and did nothing and intentionally lied to invade Iraq are simply not going to vote for Donald Trump. But Rush does not want to face the fact that maybe this guy Trump is just all around bad news and the GOP is preparing to commit political suicide this year. I can understand that--the thought doesn't comfort me either.

Brando said...

"Trump's claims are not consistent with reality, but they do fit with current Democrat orthodoxy which stops just short of trutherism."

To the extent that those claims are consistent with Democratic orthodoxy, it would be on the left fringe of it.

Brando said...

"Trumpeting this isn't going to help the Donald. This is trial and error while counting on his supporters' willingness to forgive missteps. He seems to think each overreach proves his overreach limit is even bigger. But in reality people have a certain reservoir of tolerance and he's burning through it at an alarming rate. At some point their patience will run out, and it's likely to do so after he makes a serious charge with nothing to support it."

We'll see--I'm curious to see if any former Trump fans here point out where and how he lost them. He seems to have a hard core of fans who he rightly noted would still support him if he shot someone in the street (at which point they would say his street shooting is an example of him getting the best deal).

Unknown said...

It was a deliberate strategy to undermine Jeb Bush in SC by associating him with his brother's failed policies. I think he probably went a little too far but I have been wrong many times about Trump so far.

AReasonableMan said...

Brando said...
Bush .. knew 9/11 was about to happen and chose to do nothing.


Trump did not say this.

traditionalguy said...

Rolling with Trump. This catharsis was the best thing Trump will ever do for the mental health of Americans.

Trump just doubled down on his vision that we can be all for National Defense, but renting our Military out to protect the OIL Sheiks of Mecca, as if that benefits any Americans other than the Bush Family and a few Texas friends, is not allowed UNLESS you do it with brilliance in execution.

Trump's 11th commandment for the GOP is, "Thou shalt not be stupid." That just seems mean to the Bush doofuses.

tim in vermont said...

To the extent that those claims are consistent with Democratic orthodoxy, it would be on the left fringe of it

I must know a lot of "fringe" Democrats then, many of whom seem to get their facts from photoshops on Facebook.

Michael K said...

"It's hard to believe this intel didn't lead to arrests."

The only thing that has a bit of sense in this is the complaint that the Bush administration was courting Arab votes (He got a high %) and there were rules about "profiling" Arabs. The ticket agent in Maine was quoted again somewhere about Atta and how he thought that guy was evil

I tend to agree with ARM on the rest. I think Trump was angry at JEB and may have gone farther than he should have or intended.

The trouble with that theory is that he doubled down the next day.

The reason why Bush went into Iraq has been explained again and again. One place was here.

The sanctions were collapsing and we were going to be forced out of Saudi.

Rick said...

Brando said...
[Trump] seems to have a hard core of fans who he rightly noted would still support him if he shot someone in the street


His hardcore fans don't control the outcome. To win he has to attract wider support including people who don't much like politics. This last group aren't personal fans of anyone. Trump has been winning them on the virtue of his outsider status but the more he resembles a left wing griper the more he'll lose that status.

Rick said...

Michael K said...
The only thing that has a bit of sense in this is the complaint that the Bush administration was courting Arab votes (He got a high %) and there were rules about "profiling" Arabs.


There were/are rules against profiling but they didn't come from the administration, they came from career bureaucrats.

dreams said...

"The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign, remember that. That’s not keeping us safe. . . . And George Bush — by the way, George Bush had the chance, also, and he didn’t listen to the advice of his CIA."

That is a cheap shot and its demagogy because it took months to plan the WTC attack and much of that planning was being done when Clinton was in office. Remember Clinton didn't do anything about the first attack on the WTC where some people lost their lives.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Isn't it 'sewn' up?

Tibore said...

"damikesc said...

Gotta disagree that this isn't Truther nonsense."


Damikesc is right. There's a specific strand of trutherism that folks casually have dubbed "Let It Happen On Purpose". It tries to market itself (yeah, seriously) as being a more rational look at September 11th than the "explosives in the Twin Towers" and "No Planes" groups in trutherdom. Unfortunately, it tends not to be all that rational in the end. Plus saying you're more sane than other truthers is like saying syphillis is better for you because it's not AIDS: No matter what, it's still bad.

Anyway, there is indeed a blurred line between people who genuinely have questions about that day, and the "LIHOP" truthers who position themselves to be more "rational", but in the end commit the same fallacies and distortions that other truthers do. Of course this doesn't mean that questioning is a bad thing. It's not, not when you haven't looked at the details. But it does mean that plenty of conspiracy sellers feign the guise of disinterested questioning in order to give people a free dose of snake oil. Which is intended to whet their appetite for more. The important part of questioning is paying genuine, rational attention to the answers, and that's where truthers go astray.

Back to Trump: I'm not surprised he's using this line of argument. He's used birther arguments before. I don't at all think he truly believes in either of those, but like the Professor said: He's definitely thought out these moves and employed them to provoke reactions. Not in a football coach's play design sort of way, but it's definitely the product of forethought. I agree with the Professor: He's positioned himself to be the candidate for the angrily disaffected. And the feedback loop so far has been positive for him. Little wonder he's continuing to do it.

tim in vermont said...

Everywhere I have seen Trump "fans," I mean people bringing him up in conversation in a positive way or holding signs, whatever, they seem to be white people in their 50s and 60s. He has to expand that.

Anglelyne said...

The birther stuff (re Cruz) is weird. The alleged truther stuff? Whatever. I'm unmoved by the enormous amount of indignation coming from the "I don't have a problem with people questioning the wisdom of the Iraq war, I'm just appalled at the slanderous accusations of deceit!" crowd. Oh, bullshit. Way too many of them have been indignant at any suggestion that Iraq was a massive fuck-up, and that plenty of sane people knew it was going to be a massive fuck-up (not saying I was one of them, I wasn't), since long before Trump appeared on the horizon.

Jeff said...

Trump does not want Jeb or any of the others still in the race to get out, because he can't expect to get more support as the field narrows, but Rubio and Cruz can. It may be that his far-left outbursts in the debate were calculated to actually draw some sympathy or outrage votes away from Rubio to Bush, in order to keep him in the race. If so, I think he miscalculated. Bush may be the object of sympathy, but that does not make him look presidential, nor does drawing on family connections.

If Bush does not beat Rubio in South Carolina, what is his rationale for staying in? Where can he win if not in SC?

dreams said...

"Why is Trump saying these things about Iraq and 9/11? (Multiple answers ok.)"

He was going after Jeb and he was upset that the GOP had filled the room with Jeb donors who booed him every time he spoke about Jeb. I don't like that about the GOP either but then they continue to prove that there is a reason why they're called the stupid party.

Oso Negro said...

Dear Professor, I would have thought that living in Madison would inoculate you against the specter of raving lunacy, but to the contrary it seems to me you are ascribing rationality where none is to be found. So....Grandmaster Trump's peculiar genius on the eve of the SEC primaries dictated that he terrify rational Republican primary voters by sampling Code Pink? OK. We can say that. Let me testify - I am a deep-conservative Texan and detest anything "Democrat" or "Socialist". Deeply. But after I saw The Donald go off last Saturday night, I would vote for the disasters of Hillary or Bernie before I would vote Trump. Yep, that's right - the felon or the commie. Trump is dangerous.

Brando said...

"I must know a lot of "fringe" Democrats then, many of whom seem to get their facts from photoshops on Facebook."

Those may be the most vocal, but as far as major national politicians go the general line is that the war was a mistake, Bush didn't do enough to prevent 9/11, but I don't recall Obama, Clinton, Kerry et al going so far as to say Bush intentionally lied to get us into Iraq (i.e., knew there would be no WMDs, which sort of makes no sense because if you know there are no WMDs then why invade knowing this will prove you lied?) or that he knew we were going to be attacked on 9/11. That's more on the Mike Moore fringe.

I generally agree that we were caught with our pants down on 9/11, and the Iraq War was a mistake. But while Bush certainly deserves blame for making that mistake, I think he truly believed there were WMDs and that they would soon destabilize the region or get into the hands of parties that would use them against us. Being wrong doesn't make you a liar though.

The best way to understand Trump is to imagine him as the embarrassing, drunk Thanksgiving Uncle. Rambles about anything that comes into his head, asserts unjustified expertise over any topic, and enjoys the sound of his own voice. He is unmoored by any principle, loyal to only himself (his professions of friendship to anyone last only so long as they serve him--look at the debate how he says something nice about Cruz, then Cruz criticizes Trump and Trump shoots back about how much of a sleazy liar Cruz is--the whiplash of a turnaround is the sign of an unstable mind). It's not what he believes about Bush and Iraq and 9/11, it's that he doesn't care because he's free associating.

Enjoy the entertainment, it's the only good thing about this election year.

chickelit said...

dreams said...He was going after Jeb and he was upset that the GOP had filled the room with Jeb donors who booed him every time he spoke about Jeb. I don't like that about the GOP either but then they continue to prove that there is a reason why they're called the stupid party.

Jeb's "donor class" still refuses to recognize disaffection. But since when does action ever recognize reaction except in physical (visceral) terms?

What is Jeb's donor class proposing to do new but boo?

Ann Althouse said...

"Isn't it 'sewn' up?"

Yes, thanks. Corrected.

"Sown" means something... "Sown up" is not a phrase. Things might be up after they are "sown" but they are not sewn up.

By the way, why are things "sewn up" but "nailed down"?

Anglelyne said...

dreams: That is a cheap shot and its demagogy because it took months to plan the WTC attack and much of that planning was being done when Clinton was in office.

That doesn't really follow. If it's a "cheap shot" and "demagogy", it's not because it fingers one miscreant at a time (the one in question), instead of being a comprehensive indictment of all of them. (Just what ADHD "debate" formats are designed for, right?)

Remember Clinton didn't do anything about the first attack on the WTC where some people lost their lives.

And? Perhaps you're just (correctly) pointing out that this is a multi-administration thing, and that American foreign policy has more continuity through administrations than most people credit. Fine, more people need to remember that. But it comes across as a tu quoque, which is pointless.

tim in vermont said...

By the way, why are things "sewn up" but "nailed down"

And why is it "dispensed with" but not "dispelled with"? These are the the kinds of things learners of English must master perfectly if they want to be president! Same as they must learn how to pronounce "corpsman."

traditionalguy said...

Note that PTSD among Manhattan skyscraper developers would explain why Trump wants and needs to expose those Leaders who were too stupid to stop the the Saudi's 9/11 team while they compassionately played lower level DC politics to create Federal Education powers and Medicare Drug entitlement.

Bush sending out our hit team to Afghanistan and declaring victory over the Taliban there was fine. But then carefully remaking the Arab Oil countries by conquering Saddam's Iraq was a bridge too far that destroyed far more than the 9/11 Saudi hit team did.

Trump is saying accurately that Bush II gave away the world's sympathy and support to show off for Daddy by pretending to make peace between Sunni and Shia.

Freder Frederson said...

knew there would be no WMDs, which sort of makes no sense because if you know there are no WMDs then why invade knowing this will prove you lied?)

Because they knew that people wouldn't care if they lied. Fourteen years later, there are still a lot of people defending and perpetrating the lies.

The lie was the certainty they displayed. If they had stuck to "we think there are WMD", or "we are concerned Saddam may have restarted his nuclear program", they wouldn't have been lying. But that is not how it was presented. It was a "slam dunk", there was "no doubt", and we knew "exactly where" the stockpiles of WMD were.

Bay Area Guy said...

Trump can throw a punch, but can he take a punch? He is making unforced errors in the heat of battle:

1. "Liar, liar - pants on fire" against Cruz
2. WMD in Iraq
3. Threatening to run 3rd Party

These aren't the campaign tactics of a guy confident of winning the race. Do Trump supporters see this?

David said...

Trump has violated the great taboo of 9/11.

Early on both parties reached the conclusion that blaming the other would be the equivalent of political thermonuclear war. Both sides would be destroyed. Thus in public politics and the lengthly mutterings of the 9/11 Commission institutional blame was assigned but partisan responsibility avoided. At the lower level of blogs and bar room discussions people developed strong opinions but political leaders at all levels kept it out of their agenda.

Now Trump has blasted that taboo with a few well chosen paragraphs.

Since it's Democrats who will be most pleased by his attack, it seems even more strange and wild that taboo violations usually do. The question is why Trump does this, and why now? I think he does this because he realizes he can not win the presidency without Democratic votes. Doing this now may seem strange but many primaries are not tied to party registration, so perhaps he is going for Democratic primary voters. Or maybe he thinks he has to stake out that territory now and take the risk of alienating some more Republicans.

Or perhaps he really is just crazy. I don't think so. I think it's a calculated step. Perhaps a wrong calculation but a daring one with a big payoff if he is right. It did happen in his city. He did lose friends. That pained him. Maybe he is saying what a lot of people have wanted to say. "Why didn't you protect us, Bush?" And in good time, the same question for you President Clinton and your coat tail riding wife.

tim in vermont said...

Bush can win Florida. If Democrats were allowed in the Republican primary, he could win Florida easily, I am thinking. At least from my informal, unscientific survey of the people around here where I am right now among extended family and friends. Bush will not drop out before March 15.

tim in vermont said...

"Beware the ides of March!"
"Et tu, Florida" - Bush's last words in the campaign.

jaydub said...

Trump has already done the impossbile - made me think Hillary is the lesser evil.

Michael said...

The exact lines that Trump uttered are the lines one hears at every cocktail party on either coast or in London. It is received wisdom by all liberals that the dumbest motherfucker to ever draw breath, GWB, scammed the entire world into believing WMD existed in Iraq when he, the dumbest motherfucker to ever draw breath, knew for a dead certainty that they did not. He fooled all the world powers, both houses of congress, and the UN.

Laslo Spatula said...

Bush lied.

When, after 9/11, he said that "Islam is Peace."

I am Laslo.

chickelit said...

By the way, why are things "sewn up" but "nailed down"?

"Male" vs. "female" metaphors invented by male vs. female agent nouns is my guess.

Brando said...

"Because they knew that people wouldn't care if they lied. Fourteen years later, there are still a lot of people defending and perpetrating the lies."

Really? The vast majority of people at best think the war was a mistake, even now his own brother. If he knew they would find no WMDs there, then he knew when the invasion was over his whole pretext would make him look like a liar or at least a fool who got hoodwinked into thinking there'd be WMDs. Besides a small number of hard core neocons, most Americans fault him for the war. I can't imagine that's something he anticipated going in.

The most likely scenario is he was fooled by faulty intelligence and the sort of groupthink and assumptions that often lead to foreign policy disasters. I see no evidence that Bush intentionally lied. And I'm not defending his decision, either.

Sebastian said...

@TG: "pretending to make peace between Sunni and Shia" When did W say that? His public pronouncements focused on democratizing Iraq, which obviously would shift power to the Shiites. Which the Sunnis wouldn't accept. Which meant civil war. Which got temporarily suppressed by the "surge." But which is now heating up again, O siding even more firmly with the Shiites.

@FF: as a supporter of the war, since 1991 actually, mostly because I thought it was time to take out a two-time aggressor, genocidal dictator with demonstrated desire to develop WMDs, I agree that the certainty displayed could be called a lie (especially since, behind the scenes, the key people were, appropriately, less certain).

In this whole kerfuffle Trump is acting sort-of rationally: 1. he's a Dem spouting Dem nonsense to get cross-over support in GOP primaries; 2. he can't get over the hump in those primaries and therefore must prepare for a scorched-earth 3rd party run.

The Godfather said...

I heard Tromp interviewed (by phone) on Good Morning America this morning. Tromp sounded even more undisciplined than usual, his tone of voice was wild and close to hysterical. George Stephanopoulos asked him repeatedly (three times, I think) whether he was going to carry out his threat to sue Cruz over the "natural born" issue, and each time Tromp went off on a rant on a different subject and ignored the question. Finally, he said that he was seriously considering bringing the suit that he's been threatening to bring for weeks; even a non-billionaire can recognize that weak a bluff. I really wonder if Tromp is losing it (his mind, that is). It's hard to think of another explanation. Maybe his polling shows that he's not going to win in South Carolina. Or maybe he doesn't want the nomination and he's trying to lose. Or maybe he's just crazy.

traditionalguy said...

Maybe what the GOP hardliners need now is a next generation Bush IV candidate who will vindicate the great family's bad press over the last of their Great Adventures in Iraq.

Brando said...

"Since it's Democrats who will be most pleased by his attack, it seems even more strange and wild that taboo violations usually do. The question is why Trump does this, and why now? I think he does this because he realizes he can not win the presidency without Democratic votes. Doing this now may seem strange but many primaries are not tied to party registration, so perhaps he is going for Democratic primary voters."

The problem with that strategy is that there aren't a lot of Democratic voters who would be pleased enough that he is attacking George Bush to overlook his proposals on taxes, Obamacare, immigration, registering of Muslims, etc. (to the extent that those proposals don't change again in a month, in which case who can trust him?). There may be a lot of Republican voters who are pissed with the Bushes though, enough to form a plurality against the other candidates.

But with Drunk Thanksgiving Uncle Trump, it makes more sense to just assume he says whatever comes to mind without more thought than that. Otherwise we're looking for patterns in the clouds.

Brando said...

" I really wonder if Tromp is losing it (his mind, that is). It's hard to think of another explanation. Maybe his polling shows that he's not going to win in South Carolina. Or maybe he doesn't want the nomination and he's trying to lose. Or maybe he's just crazy."

I agree he's a volatile, unstable person, but to some extent it could just be an act. He craves attention (it's his whole reason for being) and this stuff gets him that. A person with those thought processes really should not be in charge of our nuclear arsenal, but there you have it. The Year of the Primal Scream has brought us to this.

lgv said...

He just lost my wife's vote. Now he sounds like MSNBC. He just chose an poor way to try to knock down the Bushs.

traditionalguy said...

@ Sebastian...You got it. There was NO HOPE of a Democracy breaking out among the Muslims. It is against the Religions of both sects.

So why keep on enabling that dumb of a disaster? Fantasy is against my religion.

jr565 said...

They lied. No one thought Iraq had WMD,s. Who is in that group? Just about everyone:
http://townhall.com/columnists/larryelder/2006/05/25/who_thought_iraq_had_wmd_most_everybody/page/full

Now, you can argue that going into Iraq was a bad idea. I would argue it was long past time and necessary. But don't argue the reasoning behind it were based on lies. Because we can get quotes from the time where people on the other side of the aisle were arguing the same thing BEFORE Bush took office, while Bush was in office and up to the even of war. That is why democrats gave him auhtorization to use force.
This Bush lied and people died garbage is easily refuted by simply looking at what other people were saying. Senators who sat on Intel committees heard the same Intel from intelligence community who were saying it was a slam dunk case. And why wouldn't they? We had passed the Iraq Liberation act calling for regime change in 1998. Precisely because Iraq kept obfuscating. Therefore, before Bush even set foot on the scene our policy towards Iraq was one where we sought regime change. And when that was passed we bombed the hell out of Iraq. Madeline Albright was on tv saying we didn't get all of their weapons but degraded their capabilities. And then all inspectors were removed and no inspections were done until Bush came into office and threatened war.
There was therefore no time in history where it suddenly became clear that Iraq no longer posed a threat. Even if you argue that sadaam allowed for inspections he never answered what happened to weapons we knew he had because we had done previous inspections. Therefore he was not fulfilling his obligations.
It's like those pushing this argument think that history restarts whenever there is a new president.
Weapons? What weapons? Where would you get the impression that Iraq had WMD's? That's crazy talk! only people who were completely unaware of Iraqs recent history could make that arguemrn. Or people who are reflexively anti war. The former are stupid, the latter have a tendency to make up rationales as to why we can not go to war with countries. And those rationales are lies. Either outright lies or lies of omission.
Trump is trying to be commander in chief. His smears therefore, are extremely reckless. That he would make such outlandish arguments suggests he is not fit to be president.

tim in vermont said...

Joe Biden was right. We should have partitioned Iraq. But he was laughed off the stage.

jr565 said...

""The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign, remember that. That’s not keeping us safe. . . . And George Bush — by the way, George Bush had the chance, also, and he didn’t listen to the advice of his CIA."
Bull. He is referencing the same Intel that lefties do when they say "bush knew but didn't heed the warning" namely the assessment report that said they were determined to attack us.
First off, does anyone think that was not a known fact? They declared a fatwah against us when Clinton was in office. They attacked us at Khobar towers, they attacked the USS Cole. But, there was no actionable Intel tha they would attack us here, on 9/11 using planes.
There was a lot of chatter prior to the attack about something big. Or how there was a threat where they would use bombs. There was a threat that they would hijack plane to demand the release of the blind sheik. Nothing host was suggested was the actual threat. And it didn't say when or where or how.
If you don't have those three facts it's completely useless as actionable Intel.
It's like telling cops that crimes will be committed somewhere in the United States. A big crime. Huge. Well ok. So,what crime? No answer. Ok, where? No answer. Ok, how? No answer. So the argument is we are supposed to prevent that crime when it could be anywhere in the U.S. At any time. And in any manner.
if you take away actionable Intel all we are left with is that Al Qaeda is determined to attack us. But we already know that. If that's the extent of the Intel communities Intel any president in existence would tell them to come back when they have actual Intel .

Rick said...

traditionalguy said...
Note that PTSD among Manhattan skyscraper developers would explain why Trump wants and needs to expose those Leaders who were too stupid to stop the the Saudi's 9/11 team while they compassionately played lower level DC politics to create Federal Education powers and Medicare Drug entitlement.


Too stupid huh? It wasn't that he was elected precisely because his focus was education and medical care rather than terrorism? Consider a thought experiment, what would our reaction have been to a candidate who focused more on anti-terrorism than domestic policy? We would have ridiculed him as out of touch. And if Bush instead of a fictional candidate had run on the same platform then President Gore would have reacting to 9-11 (although at least then the American left would not have spent its efforts undermining our response).

Your position is Monday morning quarterbacking at its worst. If you want to know who is mostly to blame for not stopping 9-11 it's us, the American public.

Big Mike said...

Once again, Donald Trump demonstrates that he's not fit to be President of the United States.

Jonathan Graehl said...

I figured he was playing the general already (or pretending to), even though it would seem to make more sense to wait until later, but the open primary *really* explains it. And this way he refutes attacks that he's saying one thing in the primary and another in the general.

Some commenters are furious to an internal challenge, a trumpian horse, to their "who lies? only liberals lie" catechism. There might be an inkling of truth to that (Alinsky etc) but it's not something to be believed naively.

traditionalguy said...

Rick...Well said about Monday morning quarterbacking. However, not blaming Admiral Husband Kimmell for being asleep before Pearl Harbor is one thing...OK.

But going around claiming that Admiral Kimmell Kept us safe from Japan in 1941 is another thing that no quarterback agrees to, much less an outspoken Earnest King Presbyterian type Admiral.

Firing the burned out REMFs is a Commander in Chief'sPresident's job. FDR did that. Truman did that. Why was Bush II so stupid. His Daddy had actually done it right in Gulf War I.

The world awaits Jeb's answer, and no asking Momma for the answer.

Big Mike said...

If there was anyone anywhere in either the Clinton or Bush administrations who foresaw that suicide pilots crashing planes into buildings would be the next step by al Qaeda (or Hamas or any other terrorist organization) after setting bombs or hijacking planes for hostages, then I imagine that Richard Clarke would have written so in his book Against all Enemies.

And the US did find WMD in Iraq during the second Gulf War. Thankfully, not nuclear weapons (or if we did find nuclear weapons, that was kept hushed up for good and sufficient reasons).

Humperdink said...

No WMD's? Saddam gassed the Kurds. That is not arguable.

Brando said...

"Bull. He is referencing the same Intel that lefties do when they say "bush knew but didn't heed the warning" namely the assessment report that said they were determined to attack us."

I love the theory that if Bush weren't such an idiot or worse, he would have sifted through his August 2001 intel briefings, saw the one saying "Bin Laden Determined to Attack U.S." and said "hells bells, quick, call all the airports and tell them to stop letting people bring box cutters on the planes, and evacuate the World Trade Center and Pentagon oh say about three Tuesdays from now! We can stop this thing!"

Face it--the bad guys found a way to pull off an attack that we weren't ready for. And the scary thought is if they find something else we don't anticipate, they'll pull off another if they choose. We've stopped a lot of attempts, but they only need to get lucky once to succeed in terrorizing us. Thoughtful people would consider the pros and cons of various security measures, as well as infiltrating and decimating the cells that are doing this, but this idiotic game of trying to score cheap political points at every turn just shows how depraved some of us are.

Bush has made his share of mistakes, and many of his boosters (including his brother) try to give him credit where it isn't due. But this whackjob crap has only tainted his critics by association.

Brando said...

"No WMD's? Saddam gassed the Kurds. That is not arguable."

I thought he didn't still have poison gas by 2003. What I recall was that Saddam actually tried to bluff the Iranians into thinking he did have a WMD program, and this was in part what led U.S. and foreign intel agencies into thinking he really did have WMDs when we were about to go in.

Lem said...

Krauthammer said Trumps 9/11 truthing was a preemptive strike to taint the appearances of GWB in South Carolina.

Obama would be proud.

JAORE said...

I've thought Trump has over reached several times in the past. But each time he's backpedaled or explained or just rode the criticism out. And, I suppose, he's done some service by vocalizing taboo topics, like tough talk on immigration, that needed discussed.

All in all he's been a fascinating creature to watch. But he's running for President of the United States of America!

And, God help us all, he's leading the GOP race. Imagine this kind of verbal projectile vomiting on the international stage.

Can't do it? Then help change the trajectory of the GOP primaries or get ready to say Madam President.

Big Mike said...

I thought he didn't still have poison gas by 2003. What I recall was that Saddam actually tried to bluff the Iranians into thinking he did have a WMD program ...

@Brando, you thought wrong. American troops recovered chemical weapons when we went into Iraq. That's what you get for believing the New York Times, The Washington Post, and/or the network news operations.

damikesc said...

We'll see--I'm curious to see if any former Trump fans here point out where and how he lost them. He seems to have a hard core of fans who he rightly noted would still support him if he shot someone in the street (at which point they would say his street shooting is an example of him getting the best deal).

Could I still vote for him? As opposed to Hillary or Bernie, yeah.

But, this was bad. This is as bad as saying "FDR allowed Pearl Harbor". How demented must one be to describe one's foes as not being mistaken, but downright EVIL.

Because if what he said was true, Bush WAS no better than Hitler. Which is insane.

Bush was a good man. Poor President, but a good man.

jr565 said...

Brando wrote:
I thought he didn't still have poison gas by 2003. What I recall was that Saddam actually tried to bluff the Iranians into thinking he did have a WMD program, and this was in part what led U.S. and foreign intel agencies into thinking he really did have WMDs when we were about to go in.

That's what Sadaam Hussein said to his handler. It may not have been true. He may have had weapons and wanted to maintain deniability when asked about it. But even if it is true, when you are a convincing liar, peopel tend to believe your story. There would be no way to both convince Iran that he has WMD"s and at the same time convince the countries trying to contain him that he doesn't. So, people believe he had WMD"s because he wanted them to think that.
That sounds like Sadaam lying, not Bush. WE should ask Trump about it.

Howard said...

911 lay at the feet of Ronald Reagan. 1) Empowering the Taliban and birthing al-Quaida in Afghanistan. 2) Solidifying the Taliban and guaranteeing al-Quaida training camps by being Paki ISI's bitch. 3) Empowering savage, chemical weapons user Saddam Hussein during the Iran/Iraq war 4) Selling arms to Iran in exchange for hostage releases. 5) Pulling out of Lebanon after the Beirut barracks bombing.

tim in vermont said...

911 lay at the feet of Ronald Reagan. 1) Empowering the Taliban and birthing al-Quaida in Afghanistan.

Of course Soviet aggression in Afghanistan, their installation of a Communist government there, I mean we all know how Islam is supportive of communism, right? And then they used the overthrow of this regime as a pretext to destroy what was a working 20th century country.

But I know, I know, we must blame Reagan!

tim in vermont said...

Interesting how similar the Soviet's M.O. in Afghanistan was to Putin's in Ukraine. I blame Carter for handing the Soviets the opening in Afghanistan. See how easy this game is?

traditionalguy said...

The FDR's position on the Japanese Empire was simple. Once Japan became an Axis ally of Germany, FDR worked hard to entice them into attacking over his red line in Viet Nam or Malaysia to get the War that would include their ally Germany started before the U235 Bomb could be perfected first by German scientists. It worked. Germany declared war on the USA after Japan attacked.

But no one in racist DC thought the yellow skinned Asians could put together an attack on Pearl Harbor. But the Japs did it, and at the same time they attacked in 6 other places.

Underestimating other war like cultures is the norm. But that is no excuse when you claim to have Kept the country safe.

tim in vermont said...

I blame Clinton for making regime change in Iraq US policy. I blame Clinton for attacking sovereign Afghanistan with cruise missiles as if it were an ungoverned territory in a sci fi flick.

jr565 said...

"Too stupid huh? It wasn't that he was elected precisely because his focus was education and medical care rather than terrorism? Consider a thought experiment, what would our reaction have been to a candidate who focused more on anti-terrorism than domestic policy? We would have ridiculed him as out of touch. And if Bush instead of a fictional candidate had run on the same platform then President Gore would have reacting to 9-11 (although at least then the American left would not have spent its efforts undermining our response)."

Remember that AFTER the attack, Michael Moore and his ilk asserted that there is no actual terrorist threat. "There is no terrorist threat. Yes, there have been horrific acts of terrorism and, yes, there will be acts of terrorism again. But that doesn't mean that there's some kind of massive terrorist threat."
So imagine if Bush was hyping the terorrist threat prior to it occuring when for months nothing happened. If Michael Moore wasn't convinced of a terrorist threat AFTER 9/11 i can't imagine he'd be convinced of one prior.
Yet that seems to be the talking point of the left. Prior to the attack terrorism was the biggest threat ever. And everyone knew> Bush ignored. After the attack. What threat? Bush is hyping the threat.
Every time the threat level was raised to Orange, beucase of intel the same group of people scurried out and accused Bush of hyping the threat for political purposes.
If there was one group of people using terrorism for political purposes it was the left.
They suddenly forgot history on Iraq that LITERALLY occured with the last president before Bush. And they said they were for a war in Afghanistan, even though all the arguments against Iraq also applied to afghanistan (They didnt attack us, we'd be air raiding villages, we'd need to occupy them, thus making us the villains). It was really obnoxious having to argue with such blatantly dishonest people.
And Trump is now weighing in suggesting he learned all his 'facts' not from assessing actual facts but from reading websites. Most likely far left ones.

Brando said...

"@Brando, you thought wrong. American troops recovered chemical weapons when we went into Iraq. That's what you get for believing the New York Times, The Washington Post, and/or the network news operations."

Are we talking large quantities ready to use? If that's the case, then the Bush administration was incredibly incompetent in not getting this story out. I would think if my principal reason for going to war was to get at WMDs and then we found them--at the same time the war opponents are bleating that there never were WMDs--there's no way I wouldn't address the nation at prime time to announce what we found. If these were small amounts of leftovers, that might be a different story.

"Could I still vote for him? As opposed to Hillary or Bernie, yeah.

But, this was bad. This is as bad as saying "FDR allowed Pearl Harbor". How demented must one be to describe one's foes as not being mistaken, but downright EVIL.

Because if what he said was true, Bush WAS no better than Hitler. Which is insane.

Bush was a good man. Poor President, but a good man."

Thanks--I guess there is a line Trump could cross. Frankly, if he had simply said "the Iraq war was a mistake" I wouldn't hold that against him--I think Bush erred but he truly believed he was doing both the necessary and right thing. But Trump's outburst sounded like the sort of thing one would read on Daily Kos. It would actually have put him on the fringe of the 2008 Democratic presidential candidates.

tim in vermont said...

One thing Trump will do is bash the living shit out of Hillary, and he won't be restrained by press coverage, because they can't not cover him.

hombre said...

Althouse: "Trump's statements are strong and surprising, but they're not wild swinging. These aren't stray thoughts that popped out of his head, but carefully framed statements."

If so, we may infer that Trump is a vicious, calculating liar rather than a dangerously uninformed loon.

Personally, I find the latter more compelling and include his fans in the category.

jr565 said...

tim in vermont wrote:
I blame Clinton for making regime change in Iraq US policy. I blame Clinton for attacking sovereign Afghanistan with cruise missiles as if it were an ungoverned territory in a sci fi flick.

Clinton must have lied, since he did a lot of things that caused Iraqis to die. If there were no weapons then he must have known (?) and is a liar. But we can also blame 9/11 on Clinton, not just because he failed to kill Osama bin Laden, but because he contained Iraq. Based on a lie.
They hate us for our policies. To get Iraq contained we needed to send troops in through Saudi Arabia. The Saudis agreed. That pissed off OBL. So he declared a fatwah against us and started attacking us.
Therefore, his lying ass policies which all the dems supported led to countless deaths of Iraqis, and 9/11. Thanks Clinton.

The Bush lied people died meme ends up ensnaring everybody. Clinton. Gore. Hillary. The UN. It ends up being that they say Sadaam was the only one telling the truth.
And he already admitted lying, when he said he pretended to have WMD"s to show strength to his enemies.

Johanna Lapp said...

What concerns me most among all that blather: Trump believes that American presidents REIGN. I wish anyone who runs to serve as president had to pass the same exam that we immigrants do.

jr565 said...

tim in vermont wrote:
One thing Trump will do is bash the living shit out of Hillary, and he won't be restrained by press coverage, because they can't not cover him.

and by covering him they will get people who would otherwise support him to say WTF! Bush supporters may not support him. Cruz supporters may not support him. Neocons may not support him. Establishment repubs may not support him. National Review republicans will not support him. Fox News republicans will be 50/50 on him (they'll lose meghan kelly but might get andrea Tantaros - assuming Meghan is even republican to begin with). Thats a lot of bridges to burn.
Covering him is the exact problem. If only he coudl say what he says and NOT have the media cover him and report it. But how likely will that be?

elcee said...

Answer to "Did Bush lie his way to war with Iraq?".

Trump's assertion is wrong on its face. In fact, according to the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441) for WMD disarmament, Iraq's guilt on WMD was confirmed by UNMOVIC for casus belli, then corroborated post-war by the Iraq Survey Group.

AReasonableMan said...

Lem said...
Krauthammer said Trumps 9/11 truthing was a preemptive strike to taint the appearances of GWB in South Carolina.


I think this is self-evident. And, it seems to have largely worked.

Jeb is not doing his family any favors by reminding voters of the failures surrounding 9/11 and Iraq. It would have been better for the family to let sleeping dogs lie and hope memories had faded by the time the next generation was ready to step on the national stage. Trump is now driving a stake into the heart of the Bush family dynasty.

jr565 said...

Brando wrote:
Are we talking large quantities ready to use? If that's the case, then the Bush administration was incredibly incompetent in not getting this story out. I would think if my principal reason for going to war was to get at WMDs and then we found them--at the same time the war opponents are bleating that there never were WMDs--there's no way I wouldn't address the nation at prime time to announce what we found. If these were small amounts of leftovers, that might be a different story.

The whole problem with the narrative of finding the weaposn was it shifted the onus from Sadaam proving that he had disarmed by showng evidence he did so, to us having to look for weapons. And he had ample time while we were having debates about starting new inspections and/or go to war, to simply destroy or move stockpiles. the things we found may have been buried recently or may have been buried years ago. We dont' know, it may be that Sadaam himself didn't know where some of the stuff was buried. Since he spent almost a decade burying stuff.
If you give a country enough time to destroy the evidence its hard to find the evidence. Yet even so, we still found evidence.

Original Mike said...

"911 lay at the feet of Ronald Reagan."

9/11 lies at the feet of Jamie Gorelick.

walter said...

AReasonableMan: Clearly, based on the results, those motives were not merely to 'keep us safe'.
--
That doesn't necessarily follow..

AReasonableMan said...

walter said...
That doesn't necessarily follow..


I guess you could argue that it was the result of Nicholas II-level incompetence. I'm more charitable than that.

Anglelyne said...

Johanna Lapp: What concerns me most among all that blather: Trump believes that American presidents REIGN. I wish anyone who runs to serve as president had to pass the same exam that we immigrants do.

You must be a very recent arrival if you are unaware that concerns over the expansion of the imperial presidency go back many decades. Or, for that matter, the lively dissatisfaction with the current holder of that office on that score, right now.

You're just repeating a talking point here, one that doesn't stand up under comparison to anybody else's campaign boilerplate about how they're going to do all this stuff that won't be within their power to do, anyway. So I hope that what really "concerns you most" is a bit more substantive.

n.n said...

It's a proactive move to reinvigorate military and intelligence policies.

The problems didn't start with Clinton, they didn't end with Bush, but they became progressive and diversified under Obama. A Serbian war fought without cause in order to establish an Islamic state. A war fought and won to remove a dictator who repeatedly violated the terms of a ceasefire, only to abandon the people to a developing terrorist threat. Then progressive wars and clandestine coups in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Egypt, etc. that led to the murder, rape, and displacement of millions of people, guided by the vision set forth in anti-native policies (e.g. class diversity, social justice, reactive parenthood).

The establishment in both parties really hates the very public exhibition of their dirty laundry and closet skeletons.

Saint Croix said...

I'm sorry but the truther horseshit is batshit crazy. I have zero patience for it. Rosie O'Donnell can be his veep.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Ideologues on both sides are forgetting what a crazy, long-shot proposition Trump's bid for the presidency was and is. And yet here he is, the Republican front-runner. He didn't get there with moderation and media-approved sound bites.

I seriously doubt Trump gives a shit about who was responsible for the intelligence failures leading to 9/11. What's done is done but, in order to effect better outcomes next time, you need to attain a position of power. So I think the repositioning option is the correct one. If he's serious about addressing illegal immigration I'm not going to worry "cause he threw a bone to the Truther nutters (who are, remember, a very large chunk of the Democrat Party).

Unknown said...

Crazy is the exact same tact that the GOPe took against Ross Perot and it pissed me off terribly. It has definitely made me more likely to vote trump.

I love dubya, but he is not blameless for the cluster in the Middle East. Woodward said that he pulled the trigger on Iraq because the plans just got better and better. Not that there was a severe national interest. Think how feckless this was to kill 4K+ Americans, wound 220k more and no telling how many with mental scars. All for a cool plan it appears.

tim in vermont said...

Disordered mind for $200 Alex.

Howard said...

Actually, the taproot of 911 was the defeat of the Ottoman Turks in WWI and the subsequent discovery of oil on the Arabian peninsula. This assured the West's installation and military support of dictatorial Kleptocracies.

Saint Croix said...

And Rush Limbaugh embarrassed himself on his show today. Caller asked why Rush would not support a true conservatives, Ted Cruz, and call out Donald Trump for not being conservative. And Rush hemmed and hawed and stuttered. He didn't know what the hell to say. And he knows Donald Trump is a RINO. Of course he's a RINO! The man invited Hillary Clinton to his wedding. He's accusing George Bush of conspiring against his own country.

And Rush Limbaugh waffled. He dropped the ball. He thought of all those Trump supporters out there (who? where? put a sign in your yard!) and he did not want to accuse Donald Trump of being a RINO. Pathetic, sad, and weak. More concerned about his show and his ratings than he is about who the Republican nominee is. His willingness to suggest that Donald Trump is a true blue conservative makes a joke of his show. You're not a journalist, dipshit, you're a political commentator. You're allowed to voice an opinion! And he hems and he haws. What's the Camille Paglia word? Trimmer. That's you, Rush Limbaugh! As you attack the Republican party and cheer Donald Trump. While you simultaneously try to cheer Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Pathetic!

New theory: Donald Trump decided to play Operation Chaos in the Republican primary, an idea he got from Rush Limbaugh. But go ahead, keep attacking Republicans, Rush. Go ahead. You're doing fine work.

Robert Cook said...

The establishment will circle the wagons to prevent any peep of truth from being heard or, if heard, given any credence. They still assert there was no conspiracy in the assassination of JFK, that Oswald was a lone nut who acted unilaterally.

elcee said...

jr565:
"The whole problem with the narrative of finding the weaposn was it shifted the onus from Sadaam proving that he had disarmed by showng evidence he did so, to us having to look for weapons."

There's the nub. Trump's position is based on the fundamental false premise that the pre-war intelligence was casus belli for OIF. Which is the root of the operative false premise that there was a burden of proof on the US (and UN) to prove Iraqi possession matched the pre-war intelligence.

In fact, the burden of proof was on Iraq to prove it disarmed as mandated by the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441) for the Gulf War ceasefire enforced under US law.

By the operative enforcement procedure for the Gulf War ceasefire, the intelligence was not an element to establish casus belli, therefore, no matter how predictively precise, it did not and could not trigger enforcement. Only Iraq's noncompliance would trigger enforcement and only Iraq's compliance could switch off enforcement. By procedure, the casus belli for Operation Iraqi Freedom was established in the UNSCR 1441 inspections with the UNMOVIC finding of "about 100 unresolved disarmament issues" which confirmed Iraq's "continued violations of its obligations" (UNSCR 1441) in Saddam's "final opportunity to comply" (UNSCR 1441).

The UN disarmament process was not like a crime-scene forensic investigation that searched for evidence while guarding carefully against the contamination or loss of physical evidence in a controlled area. Indeed, the Iraq Survey Group qualified its findings with the caveat that much evidence was lost before and during its post-war investigation. Rather, the UN weapons inspections tested Iraq's compliance with the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441). The UN disarmament process was designed to verify Iraq's account of its proscribed items and activities and manage their "destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision" (UNSCR 687) when turned over by Iraq. As such, Iraq’s WMD threat was chiefly assessed from the proscribed items and activities that were not accounted for and eliminated to the mandated standard. The intelligence was weighed in the context that Iraq was presumed armed until proven disarmed as mandated.

Moreover, the WMD proscription mandated by the Gulf War ceasefire covered more areas than just battlefield-ready stockpiles. Iraq was required to prove compliance in all the disarmament areas with "full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions with its obligations under resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions" (UNSCR 1441).

In fact, the UNMOVIC findings and post hoc Iraq Survey Group findings are rife with disarmament violations. The evidence shows Saddam had not disarmed as mandated, which established casus belli, and was rearming with an active WMD program.

So, what to make then of Trump's facially wrong position?

OIF opponents have hidden the operative enforcement procedure for the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441) with the propaganda trick of asserting the false premise that the burden of proof was on the US (and UN) to prove the predictive precision of the pre-war intelligence. Thereby, they've hidden Iraq's evidential material breach across the board of the Gulf War ceasefire that established the actual casus belli for OIF.

R. Chatt said...

Not true the claim that no one had any idea that terrorists were planning to crash a plane(s) into buildings "TRACES OF TERRORISM: THE WARNINGS; F.B.I. Knew for Years About Terror Pilot Training"
Nothing was done about this threat but it was known.

ISIS has threatened to infiltrate Syrian refugees and people choose to ignore that as well. Trump appears to be the only candidate who is willing to take that threat seriously. No one else is willing to talk about it because of political correctness. This is a question of forward versus backward thinking. Vote for Trump if you want someone who will try to prevent catastrophes, vote for the others if you want someone who will deal with the aftermath of catastrophes.

I think that is part of Trump's strategy.

Mark Caplan said...

Trump is right: We now all should know that the final version of the National Intelligence Estimate that said Iraq might have chemical weapons was fabricated by higher ups in the intelligence community on orders of or in complicity with Bush administration officials. This evidence came out in 2014. How quickly people forget, or subconsciously block things out for partisan reasons.

http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-the-full-version-of-the-cias-2002-intelligence-assessment-on-wmd-in-iraq-2015-3

jr565 said...

R chatt wrote:
Not true the claim that no one had any idea that terrorists were planning to crash a plane(s) into buildings "TRACES OF TERRORISM: THE WARNINGS; F.B.I. Knew for Years About Terror Pilot Training"
Nothing was done about this threat but it was known.

this is an example of hindsight. After having collected the dots then of course it should be known. But if they hadn't collected the dots when the attack occured, then its not a given that it would be known.

The 19 hijackers didnt' walk down en masse to flight schools a week before the attack and say "teach us how to fly, but not land". All but one actually learned to fly back when Clinton was still in charge. Since no threat materialized, its just a dot that isnt' connected to other dots. No agency new that these 19 hijackers were part of any plot since at the time they were engaged in suspicious activity there was no attack on 9/11. And they weren't linked as the hijackers. It was random muslim men at differnt times going to different flight schools learning to fly. Even the assertion that they told peopel they didn't want to learn how to land may be conjecture, after the fact. My guess is they simply attended the first few classes that teach you how to fly and never returned for the classes where you needed to learn the stuff like landing.
in any event this was not intel provided to either Clinton or especially Bush, since it was non essential data that may be suspicious but did not prove to eventful at the time. And if we want to say it happened under a presidents watch therefore he's responsible, then the blame goes to Clinton. Not Bush.

damikesc said...

3) Empowering savage, chemical weapons user Saddam Hussein during the Iran/Iraq war

So, no exchange of research material any longer in case somebody eventually misuses it?

BTW, France supplied far more of the weaponry than we ever dreamed of.

But nice that you can go back 20 years to find the REAL culprit.

Thanks--I guess there is a line Trump could cross. Frankly, if he had simply said "the Iraq war was a mistake" I wouldn't hold that against him--I think Bush erred but he truly believed he was doing both the necessary and right thing. But Trump's outburst sounded like the sort of thing one would read on Daily Kos. It would actually have put him on the fringe of the 2008 Democratic presidential candidates.

There's also scant evidence of Trump opposing the War back in the day. Few look back and say "That was a great idea". I can argue it was the least bad option (sanctions weren't going to hold --- listen to Cook discuss the sanctions and remember that the view was pretty amongst the international Left and he was a loathsome person), but it's one, in hindsight, I wish we ignored. Let them fight their own fights, but Saddam in power --- and I am stunned I am saying this --- is better than the alternatives, as we have seen. I'd also argue that "We had to let the inspectors finish the job" is kinda laughable as they were kicked out of the country for years (which should've led to an IMMEDIATE invasion) and were allowed back in because of the threat.

I truly thought Iraq would be able to govern itself and show the region that it is possible. I now know it is not. Islam needs a brutal dictator to keep the lunatics in check.

...of course, we ALSO get blamed if we do "nothing" about dictators oppressing their people, so there ya go.

They still assert there was no conspiracy in the assassination of JFK, that Oswald was a lone nut who acted unilaterally.

The main problem with conspiracy theories is that they are great at attacking the inconsistencies in the narrative --- but do a piss poor job of providing a competent alternative.

Is the official story of the JFK assassination difficult to fully believe? Yeah. Know what is tougher to fully believe? The conspiracy theories about what really happened. The sheer number of people who had to be in on it and not say a word is staggering.

mccullough said...

Trump knows that Jeb doesn't know how to react to these statements. Jeb has no instincts to defend his family or himself. He's not prepared to run for president or even be president. It's like watching Obama and Hillary's reactions to Putin. They are stunned because they (along with Merkel and the other European leaders) can't believe that Putin is doing what he is doing. They don't know how to handle someone who is not working from The Playbook.

That said, 9/11 was the result of bi-partisan incompetence and a love of policy and bureaucracy. AQ attacked the same building they attacked in Feb 1993. They just used a different method. It would be great if we had flexibility in our government agencies, but the bureaucracy and love for ever more policies prevents this. As well as the fecklessness of our leaders who should have got off visas and immigration to Saudis 20 years ago. But they love the Saudi money

Saint Croix said...

the GOP had filled the room with Jeb donors who booed him every time he spoke about Jeb.

Oh, bullshit. This is just like Michael Moore claiming all the boos were people booing the booers. Assholes get booed when they say asshole things. Attacking George Bush for 9/11 is an asshole move.

jr565 said...

mark caplan, where does the intel estimate say that? Are you being sarcastic?

walter said...

So sad that two terms of Nobel Peace prize leadership hasn't put things right.
Barack Obama and the Last Czar

damikesc said...

Trump is right: We now all should know that the final version of the National Intelligence Estimate that said Iraq might have chemical weapons was fabricated by higher ups in the intelligence community on orders of or in complicity with Bush administration officials. This evidence came out in 2014. How quickly people forget, or subconsciously block things out for partisan reasons.

Interestingly, your article you link doesn't mention Bush officials. It says reservations on the intel got downplayed as it went up the ladder (reservations on intel are normal as all intel is spotty on a good day) by the intelligence community.

The same one that didn't like Bush, mind you.

Saint Croix said...

One thing Trump will do is bash the living shit out of Hillary

I call bullshit. Why would he attack his wedding guest? He'll be nice to her.

Robert Cook said...

"It is received wisdom by all liberals that the dumbest motherfucker to ever draw breath, GWB, scammed the entire world into believing WMD existed in Iraq when he, the dumbest motherfucker to ever draw breath, knew for a dead certainty that they did not. He fooled all the world powers, both houses of congress, and the UN."

Wrong. They didn't scam the "whole world" or "all the world powers, both houses of Congress, and the UN."

I never bought his story, and many others never did. I can't really believe everyone in Congress bought it--though some in Congress are dumb enough to have been duped--they just voted for war because voting against war is always seen as a loser's gambit. In fact, Congress didn't even vote for war; they cowardly ceded their constitutional authority to the President, and said, "we give you the power to go to war against anyone you feel it necessary to go to war with to win the war on terror...if you feel it is necessary."

All the world powers didn't buy it, and the UN certainly didn't. For the invasion to have been legal, we would have had to have obtained a majority vote in the UN Security Council. We were going to have a vote--the Bush White House didn't want to do so, but at Colin Powell's insistence, they assented--but it became clear there would not be a majority vote in the Council approving the war, so we withdrew our motion for a vote and went to war without it, illegally.

As for other world powers that joined us, they basically were pressured into it by us. They are our vassal states, after all. And the claim that all the world's intelligence agencies believed Hussein had WMD was a lie from the start. Even our own intelligence agencies didn't believe it.

Rick said...

Robert Cook said...
They still assert there was no conspiracy in the assassination of JFK, that Oswald was a lone nut who acted unilaterally.


Why don't you tell us about the conspiracy Robert?

Saint Croix said...

In 2008, Donald Trump calls for Bush's impeachment. Look how happy Hillary and Bill are!

john mosby said...

There's a lot simpler explanation for Trump's remark:

He's forced the MSM into a choice between letting a Trump enormity go unchallenged, or defending GWB!

Today on Morning Joe, MSNBC managed to split the baby by bringing on a WSJ editorial board member to critique the accuracy of Trump's statements.

Most other MSM outlets won't have the time or inclination for that kind of nuance.

JSM

jr565 said...

R. chatt wrote;
Not true the claim that no one had any idea that terrorists were planning to crash a plane(s) into buildings "TRACES OF TERRORISM: THE WARNINGS; F.B.I. Knew for Years About Terror Pilot Training"
Nothing was done about this threat but it was known.

Where is it KNOWN that even if they were going to learn how to fly that the FBI knew they were going to fly those planes into the WTC. And on september 11th. You are drawing some major league conclusions based on the flimsiest of evidence. and your assertions were not KNOWN.

From your own link:
"The F.B.I. had been aware for several years that Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network were training pilots in the United States and elsewhere around the world, according to court records and interviews at flight schools and with federal law enforcement officials.

The F.B.I. knew by 1996 of a specific threat that terrorists in Al Qaeda, Mr. bin Laden's network, might use a plane in a suicide attack against the headquarters of the C.I.A. or another large federal building in the Washington area, the law enforcement officials acknowledged.

Stop right there. They knew in 1996 that al Qaeda planned something. 1996. When was 9/11? In 2001. So for five years there was this plan that they knew about that never materialized. That is what I mean. They plan on using a plane somehwere at sometime in the future. That's not a lot to go on is it? Every year where it doesn't happen diminishes the possibility that it might. In 2000, not having said attack occur, intel analysts probably said, it was a plan that was not coming to fruition or was just chatter. if it was known though, then Clinton had 5 years to protect us from it, yet not a single person was ever arrested. Why? Because it wasn't in fact known.

It says a federal building. Not the WTC. and do you realize how many days there are between 2006 and 2001? How many flights went out and landed since that time. does it say where the planes would fly from? Of course not. It doesnt even get the right federal building and completely leaves off WTC.


"But the officials said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had discounted the possibility of a suicide attack using planes, partly because it had largely failed to draw together evidence gathered piecemeal over the years that Al Qaeda pilots were training here.


So, the FBI actually discounted the possibility of attack using planes. IN other words, THEY DIDN"T KNOW.
If the FBI discounts a suicide attack, and it turns out to be a suicide attack, the FBI doesnt' really know a lot, does it?

Yet we are to believe that Bush, is supposed to see past the FBI's discounting of suicidal attacks with planes and pinpoint that an attack will occur, even though it never did for 5 years after the FBI said there might be an attack. and even though they never actually said where those attacks would take place or when. But Bush knows.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:

All the world powers didn't buy it, and the UN certainly didn't. For the invasion to have been legal, we would have had to have obtained a majority vote in the UN Security Council.

Then why did the security counsel pass 1441? Why were they on board for the first 15 resolutions agianst Iraq.

elcee said...

Mark Caplan,

Your context is wrong.

The fact of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons program was established at the outset of the Gulf War ceasefire in 1991 and presumed thereafter in the US-enforced, UN-mandated disarmament process until Iraq proved it disarmed according to the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441) mandated by the Gulf War ceasefire. The intelligence on Iraq's WMD was presented in the context of established/presumed Iraqi armament.

If you don't like the US intelligence estimates, I suggest you review the UNSCOM reports from 1991-1998, the UN assessment in 1999 after Iraq barred UNSCOM, and the UNMOVIC findings from 2002-2003 that picked up from UNSCOM when UN weapons inspectors returned to Iraq pursuant to UNSCR 1441 and Public Law 107-243.

Iraq's failure to prove it disarmed as mandated in Saddam's "final opportunity to comply" (UNSCR 1441) was established by the UNMOVIC finding of "about 100 unresolved disarmament issues" in the UNSCR 1441 inspections for casus belli.

Moreover, although the pre-war intelligence fell short as "evidence", the evidence shows the pre-war intelligence, per the normal role of intelligence and its actual limited ancillary role in the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement, correctly indicated Saddam's regime was engaged in proscribed armament (and terrorist) activity that breached the Gulf War ceasefire.

President Clinton, CNN interview, 03JUL03:
Let me tell you what I know. When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for. ... So I thought it was prudent for the president to go to the U.N. and for the U.N. to say you got to let these inspectors in, and this time if you don't cooperate the penalty could be regime change, not just continued sanctions. I mean, we're all more sensitive to any possible stocks of chemical and biological weapons. ... it is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons.

traditionalguy said...

Poor little CruzBots. Rush Limbaugh is humbly saying that since no one can stop Trump now, then so what if Trump is not a pure ideology Conservative. Trump is a fighter that is the antidote to the poisonous Obama Democrat Party destroying the USA, and Trump can will destroy them all.

In other words, IF we did not have a Napoleonic winner type on our side, then maybe a slick Mr Pure Christian Cruz ideologue would be Rush's choice.

And Trump has a point. How can that dishonest of a Campaign claim it is the Christian's best opportunity to defeat unbelievers , while it uses one Big Lie after another.

PS: Natural Born means a citizen born in American Territory. Just like at least 35 years of age means thirty five years of age. Nobody follows the snipe hunt about simple citizenship answering the eligibility question for Cruz to run.

tim in vermont said...

a slick Mr Pure Christian Cruz

Teddy Haskell

Saint Croix said...

What do the Trump supporters have to say about Vladimir Putin? Do you like him? Just curious.

BrianE said...


"...the Bush administration sponsored an independent investigation about the point:

Despite years of investigation and countless memoirs, there is no evidence for this claim. None. The CIA director at the time, George Tenet, famously called evidence of WMD in Iraq a “slam dunk.” Other intelligence services, including the British, also believed Saddam Hussein had such programs. After the first Gulf War in 1991 the CIA had been surprised to learn that Saddam had far more WMD capability than it had thought. So it wasn’t crazy to suspect that Saddam would attempt to rebuild it after he had expelled United Nations arms inspectors in the late 1990s.

President Bush empowered a commission, led by former Democratic Sen. Chuck Robb and federal Judge Laurence Silberman, to dig into the WMD question with access to intelligence and officials across the government. The panel included Patricia Wald, a former chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals appointed by Jimmy Carter, and Richard Levin, president of Yale University at the time.

Their report of more than 600 pages concludes that it was the CIA’s “own independent judgments—flawed though they were—that led them to conclude Iraq had active WMD programs.” The report adds that “the Commission found no evidence of political pressure” to alter intelligence findings: “Analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter their analytical judgments.”"

I long ago quit arguing with leftist about WMD's, the Iraq War, the Vietnam War, or the color of the sky. In the case of the left, repeating a fact often enough will NOT change their mind since it interferes with the narrative.

Was going into Iraq a mistake? In hindsight yes. But the President has to make decisions based on the information at hand. Assume for a minute that regardless of the 1998 legislation calling for regime change, intelligence analysis that stockpiles of WMD's were still unaccounted for was ignored and Bush chose to do nothing after 9/11 and the intelligence proved to be true and another major attack occurred this time with chemical or biological weapons.

The left's narrative would be 'Bush did nothing to keep America safe.'

Yes the facts need to be recited every time the left trots out their 'Bush lied' propaganda, but like the 9/11 conspiracy buffs, the left will live in their own conspiracy bubble.

tim in vermont said...

. For the invasion to have been legal, we would have had to have obtained a majority vote in the UN Security Council.

Where is this law written down Robert?

damikesc said...

For the invasion to have been legal, we would have had to have obtained a majority vote in the UN Security Council.

That is, of course, false. The UN is not, nor has it ever been, the determining factor if a military action is legal.

And the UN itself said Saddam was in material breach, so it's moot. If that was their finding, and it was, it's a fait accompli.

Saint Croix said...

Trump has the widely coveted Putin endorsement.

jr565 said...

Robert Cooke wrote:
All the world powers didn't buy it, and the UN certainly didn't. For the invasion to have been legal, we would have had to have obtained a majority vote in the UN Security Council.

the problem you have with this argument is that the invasion wasnt' the first decision made by the security counsel vis a vis Iraq and its not complying with UN sanctions. We have 15 resolutions prior that also dealt with Iraq's noncompliance.
What you are arguing is that no one bought it. Not that the decision to go to war was right or wrong. Or rather, you are conflating the two.
Its a fact that the UN, prior to unanimously agreeing to 1441, also passed resolutions 1 -15. On what basis did they pass those resolutions. Either they bought the rationale or they didn't. If they didn't then we are left with the fact that the entire UN counsel is punishing Iraq for what it knows Iraq is innocent of. The entire security counsel. Even France and Russia and CHina.
how is that a positive case for the UN and what they knew at the time?
or is it your assertion that the UN didnt know at resolution 5, but came to the conclusion by resolution 15? or 1441? Or after 1441? You are just making stuff up at this point.

Robert Cook said...

"Then why did the security counsel pass 1441?"

That did not authorize an invasion of Iraq. It required Hussein to prove he was in compliance with the disarmament requirements previously imposed on him, or else there would be a further deliberation as to whether military action might be warranted. This was certainly one of the reasons he assented to a new UN Weapons inspection regime. WE violated UN 1441 by refusing to wait for the inspections to be completed, to wait for a finding as to whether he was disarmed or not. We told the inspectors to leave the country for their own safety, as the long-planned and already-scheduled war was about to commence. We were never going to allow the inspectors to actually affirm that Hussein was, in fact, disarmed. This would have undone not just their primary justification to invade Iraq, but the public approval that had been drummed up for war would would have evaporated.

From Wikipedia's article on UN 1441:

While some politicians have argued that the resolution could authorize war under certain circumstances, the representatives in the meeting were clear that this was not the case. The United States Ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, said:
“ [T]his resolution contains no "hidden triggers" and no "automaticity" with respect to the use of force. If there is a further Iraqi breach, reported to the Council by UNMOVIC, the IAEA or a Member State, the matter will return to the Council for discussions as required in paragraph 12. The resolution makes clear that any Iraqi failure to comply is unacceptable and that Iraq must be disarmed. And, one way or another, Iraq will be disarmed. If the Security Council fails to act decisively in the event of further Iraqi violations, this resolution does not constrain any Member State from acting to defend itself against the threat posed by Iraq or to enforce relevant United Nations resolutions and protect world peace and security.[3] ”

The ambassador for the United Kingdom, the co-sponsor of the resolution, said:
“ We heard loud and clear during the negotiations the concerns about "automaticity" and "hidden triggers" – the concern that on a decision so crucial we should not rush into military action; that on a decision so crucial any Iraqi violations should be discussed by the Council. Let me be equally clear in response... There is no "automaticity" in this resolution. If there is a further Iraqi breach of its disarmament obligations, the matter will return to the Council for discussion as required in paragraph 12. We would expect the Security Council then to meet its responsibilities.[4] ”

The message was further confirmed by the ambassador for Syria:
“ Syria voted in favour of the resolution, having received reassurances from its sponsors, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, and from France and Russia through high-level contacts, that it would not be used as a pretext for striking against Iraq and does not constitute a basis for any automatic strikes against Iraq. The resolution should not be interpreted, through certain paragraphs, as authorizing any State to use force. It reaffirms the central role of the Security Council in addressing all phases of the Iraqi issue.[5]

Brando said...

"For the invasion to have been legal, we would have had to have obtained a majority vote in the UN Security Council."

Is that our new rule?

BrianE said...

My previous quotes came from here:

http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com/

damikesc said...

WE violated UN 1441 by refusing to wait for the inspections to be completed

You mean the ones AFTER he kicked them out of the country for several years?

Those inspections?

damikesc said...

"For the invasion to have been legal, we would have had to have obtained a majority vote in the UN Security Council."

Is that our new rule?


In the world of a lot of the Left, yeah.

We should allow a collection of corrupt plutocrats determine our policies.

The biggest mistake America has ever made is to spend a moment going to the UN for anything. Obama has had few problems not going to the UN for his military actions...

Robert Cook said...

"'For the invasion to have been legal, we would have had to have obtained a majority vote in the UN Security Council.'

"That is, of course, false. The UN is not, nor has it ever been, the determining factor if a military action is legal."


Actually, yes, it is, if there is no exigent self-defense rationale--that is, another country has already attacked or is about to attack--that otherwise justifies war.

Brando said...

"I call bullshit. Why would he attack his wedding guest? He'll be nice to her."

He certainly has had a lot worse to say about Cruz et al than Hillary. And while he is in the heat of a primary, you'll notice most Dems and a lot of GOPers tend to focus their attacks on the other party.

Besides, "beating up on Hillary" usually backfires when done sloppily. Being a victim is her secret weapon! All he has to say is "this woman couldn't keep her husband satisfied and we end up with a come stained dress and impeachment, which was one of the most fabulous impeachments I have ever seen" and there's a five point swing in the polls for Hillary.

jr565 said...

(cont) furhter, suppose we did inspections and didnt' find any major stockpiles. Do those saying that Iraq had no weapons then suggest that we should have lifted sanctions?
if no, then you are saying we should continue to contain Iraq even though we know they in fact don't have weapons. if yes, do you honestly believe that Iraq woudnt' immediately move to get weapons again? Duelfler said they maintained their programs. Even Sadaam hussein said he needed to project strenght by appearing to have weapons. Why wouldn't he then get weapons? Like he did continuously in the past? He certainly had a lot of money from the Oil for Food. ANnd Duelfler said, because he had said programs in place could be restarted in months.

So if we lifted containment, we'd immediately to the conclusion that we needed to contain Iraq. Because they had WMD's.
This was why Clinton said so long as Sadaam was in power we would never have a scenario where he wasnt'trying to get WMD's. It was already US policy for regime change. IN 1998!

elcee said...

Robert Cook:
"For the invasion to have been legal, we would have had to have obtained a majority vote in the UN Security Council."

Answer to "Was Operation Iraqi Freedom legal?". The international legal controversy is addressed at A2.

Also see: Explanation of the casus belli for Operation Iraqi Freedom according to UNSCR 1441 enforced under Public Law 107-243. Excerpt:
The third group, decisions 12-14, was related to decision authority and consequence if Iraq failed to comply with decisions 1-11. However, decision 12 mandated the Security Council merely to "convene" to "consider the situation" if Iraq failed to comply with the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance". The ambiguity of the mandate opened the way to rivaling interpretations of the decision procedure among Security Council members.

On the one hand, like previous resolutions, decision 14 stated the Security Council was "seized of the matter". On the other hand, decision 13 "recall[ed] ... the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations", which was confirmed by the UNMOVIC Cluster Document, while the preamble "recall[ed] that its resolution 678 (1990) authorized Member States to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 (1990) of 2 August 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to resolution 660 (1990) and to restore international peace and security in the area", which matched President Clinton's statement of legal authority for Operation Desert Fox.

Upon the presentation of the UNMOVIC Cluster Document on March 7, 2003, the Security Council duly convened per decision 12 of UNSCR 1441 to consider the situation. After 10 days of debate, the decision for OIF came as a result of Iraq's continued violations of its obligations in Saddam's "final opportunity to comply".

In 2003, President Bush faced the same deadlock in the Security Council that President Clinton faced for Operation Desert Fox in 1998. Bush's decision for Operation Iraqi Freedom followed Clinton's legal precedent with ODF, to wit, "Under Resolutions 678 and 687 -- both still in effect -- the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction" (Bush, 17MAR03).

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
Actually, yes, it is, if there is no exigent self-defense rationale--that is, another country has already attacked or is about to attack--that otherwise justifies war.
The breaking of the ceasefire was what justified war. THose were the terms Sadaam agreed to. He violated them repeatedly. If china thinks they can dicate our policy they are mistaken.

elcee said...

Robert Cook:
"WE violated UN 1441 by refusing to wait for the inspections to be completed"

Incorrect.

Answer to "Did Bush allow enough time for the inspections?".

jr565 said...

Cook wrote:
hat did not authorize an invasion of Iraq. It required Hussein to prove he was in compliance with the disarmament requirements previously imposed on him, or else there would be a further deliberation as to whether military action might be warranted.
ANd he didn't do that. THere were proscribed weapons we knew Iraq had, that they never provided evidence for that showed they were destroyed. Not providing that evidence was a breach of compliance. We did nto have to go searching through endless buildings to find the needle in the haystack.

Robert Cook said...

"You mean the ones AFTER he kicked them out of the country for several years?

"Those inspections?"


Hussein didn't kick them out. UNSCOMM withdrew them prior to Operation Desert Fox, in December 1998. They never returned after that.

Hussein had become less cooperative with the inspections, as he claimed--correctly--that they were spying for the CIA. As Hussein was still the head of a sovereign nation, he certainly had a right to object to letting spies traipse through any place they wished.

Chuck said...

Althouse, I do not understand you. Thiessen is right. Exactly right!

I have understood you to be a person who prized the careful use of words, and who regularly praised those who used them well, and scorned those who were careless or even reckless.

Thiessen, a very talented and accomplished speechwriter, is the former. And Trump is the latter.

Robert Cook said...

"Upon the presentation of the UNMOVIC Cluster Document on March 7, 2003, the Security Council duly convened per decision 12 of UNSCR 1441 to consider the situation. After 10 days of debate, the decision for OIF came as a result of Iraq's continued violations of its obligations in Saddam's 'final opportunity to comply'.

"In 2003, President Bush faced the same deadlock in the Security Council that President Clinton faced for Operation Desert Fox in 1998. Bush's decision for Operation Iraqi Freedom followed Clinton's legal precedent with ODF, to wit, 'Under Resolutions 678 and 687 -- both still in effect -- the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction' (Bush, 17MAR03)."


In other words, Clinton set the precedent of acting lawlessly, and Bush followed suit.

elcee said...

jr565:
"Do those saying that Iraq had no weapons then suggest that we should have lifted sanctions? ... if no, then you are saying we should continue to contain Iraq even though we know they in fact don't have weapons. ... So if we lifted containment, we'd immediately to the conclusion that we needed to contain Iraq."

That's critical context. We faced a closed set of options with the Saddam problem.

Answer(s) to "What were President Bush’s alternatives with Iraq?", "Why did Bush leave the ‘containment’ (status quo)?", "Why not free a noncompliant Saddam?", and "Why did resolution of the Saddam problem require a threat of regime change?".

Excerpt:
By the close of the Clinton administration, after ten years of struggle as chief enforcer of the UNSC resolutions to disarm and rehabilitate Saddam, only 3 options remained for the US with Iraq: kick the can with ‘containment’ (status quo), accept Iraq's noncompliance and free Saddam, or resolve the Saddam problem with a final chance for Saddam to comply with Iraq's ceasefire obligations under credible threat of regime change.

traditionalguy said...

What ever became of Baghdad Bob? Did he get hired by CNN?

Tibore said...

Not true the claim that no one had any idea that terrorists were planning to crash a plane(s) into buildings...

Nothing was done about this threat but it was known.


This is a bit of accidental misrepresentation re being "known". Yes, the intelligence was there that hijackings were planned. And intelligence existed that indicated various landmarks were being studied as terror targets. And yes, everyone remembers the famous story of the FBI trying to put together a case about the various pilots who were taking commercial jet training but showed no inclination to learn how to land.

Problem is, it's only obviously a single narrative in hindsight. The hijackings were specifically mentioned in the Presidential Daily Brief as being towards the goal of getting a radical cleric (Sheik Abd al-Rahman) released. The casing of buildings was at the time attributed to being another 1993 type World Trade Center bombing. And the jetliner hijackings were attributed - in hindsight, mistakenly so - to being jets hijacked overseas and therefore interceptible in the Air Defense Zones over the oceans. The infamous August Presidential Daily Brief actually separated the hijacking intelligence from the building surveillance with the sentence "FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."

Now, what about the "Bojinka plot" intelligence, where one Abdul Hakim Murad confessed what he knew about a plot to hijack a jet and crash it into CIA headquarters? The intelligence that the Filipino National Police passed directly to Washington? We could rightfully critique the CIA for not connecting it to an active plot. Or we could recognize that he and his more famous partner - Ramzi Yousef - were not actually part of Al Qaeda back then, so Washington held it as it's own thread to be followed up on. Yes, the intelligence community should've realized that terror group affiliation is fluid. But we can also realize that the "Bojinka" information had to be taken in the context of all other intelligence, which as noted above pointed at other possible uses for hijackings. It's a failure, unquestionably, a failure of imagination and connecting the dots, but having the raw intelligence and actually drawing useful information out of the morass are two different things. Recall: The plots Murad copped to also involved San Francisco buildings and the CIA headquarters. And it involved small planes - Cessna types, or the then infamous "crop duster" rentals that were alleged - not the large jetliners others were training for. His "confessions" indicated that terrorists were looking to get jetliner trained pilots, but at the same time indicated that they had few to none.

Which parts of that were truly actionable at the time? They had no date, they had no firm plot. And they had much data that contradicted. It was a messy mass of information to pour through.

Yes, it's ultimately a mistake to not put it together. But it's not entirely accurate to just blanket say "they (the intelligence community) knew". They had pieces they were putting together, and indications that those pieces were to be put together in a different way rather than the way it ended up being. But they didn't "know" in the sense of knowing the plot as we know it today. These were individual strands of intelligence that didn't get put together until people saw the news footage on Sept. 11 and had their "aha" moments. Which is understandable given the mess that was the raw intelligence. Whether that is incompetence, understandable error, or food for conspiracy is up to the reader to decide.

Original Mike said...

"Hussein had become less cooperative with the inspections, as he claimed--correctly--that they were spying for the CIA. As Hussein was still the head of a sovereign nation, he certainly had a right to object to letting spies traipse through any place they wished."

I think you give up that right when you invade two of your neighbors.

elcee said...

Robert Cook:
"Clinton set the precedent of acting lawlessly"

President Clinton letter to Congress on the legal authority for Operation Desert Fox, 18DEC98.

Michael said...

Robert Cook

OK, the dumbest motherfucker ever to draw breath fooled everyone except Robert Cook.

Feel better?

elcee said...

Robert Cook:
"Hussein had become less cooperative with the inspections"

That condition as stated on its face constituted material breach of the Gulf War ceasefire for casus belli.

tim in vermont said...

France had sold its Security Council vote to Saddam for incredible concessions on Iraqi oil which could have financed the "French Exception" for some time to come. The "French Exception" comes from France maintaining its colonial empire through bribery of the new leaders of their former colonies. If you want to find a miserable country, look for one that was a French colony, with the exception of Quebec, which was under English rule for centuries after the French were expelled.

Bobby said...

tim in vermont,

As poor colonial masters as the French were, in terms of the legacy and the institutional capacity they left behind for their former colonies, they nonetheless significantly outperformed the Belgians, and to a lesser extent, the Spanish, Portuguese and the Dutch. And the English, although on top of the list by a significant margin and therefore the "gold standard" of colonization, are hardly considered to have been great at it.

I think it's like counterinsurgency: some perform better than others, but none do it very well.

Robert Cook said...

"'For the invasion to have been legal, we would have had to have obtained a majority vote in the UN Security Council.'

"Is that our new rule?"


No, it's been the rule since the formation of the UN. That we have violated the rule merely means we are a lawless nation, not that the rule doesn't exist and hasn't existed. Under out treaty obligations to the UN Charter, this prohibition against unilateral aggressive war--or even threatening war--is the law of the land.

Sammy Finkelman said...

"It's hard to believe this intel didn't lead to arrests. I hope we awarded a medal to whoever came up with it."

tim in vermont said... 2/16/16, 6:43 AM

Exactly, we should have indiscriminately rounded up A-rabs who have any conceivable connection to any possible plot to strike in the US!

If we somehow had done something that somehow prevented it, we wouldn't know we had prevented it, or what we had prevented. Unless you caught them in mid-plot.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Donald Trump's general policy is to come up with anything, when he decides to go after someone, and he doesn't care whether or not it is the truth or fair. And I don't think Donald Trump is ensitive to the question of whether or not something is a Democratic trope or a Republican trope, or Putin's trope, even.

So that fits with the throwing things out there to see what works, a trial and error method answer.

But I also think that this is part of a brilliant plan. The idea is to divide the opposition, and keep it divided.

Here, what Donald Truump needed to do in the last debate was to keep Jeb Bush in the race. By attacking him this way he gave Jeb Bush a lifeline.

He knew he would lose some votes, but he is so far ahead he can afford it. He wants to stay first - it's not that important what percentage of the vote first is.

Trump was going against Cruz seriously, and against Bush to build him up, and make sure both he and Rubio stay in the race. He can knock down Cruz a bit. Trump probably doesn't think Kasich and Carson are going to be there for the long haul. If he sees Carson gaining some votes he'll try to help him.

Trump did the same thing - sacrificing points - in Iowa by skipping the last Fox debate. There the goal was to get more favorable news coverage. It may not have succeeded, but he was willing to sacrifice some points for it.

jr565 said...

elcee wrote:
By the close of the Clinton administration, after ten years of struggle as chief enforcer of the UNSC resolutions to disarm and rehabilitate Saddam, only 3 options remained for the US with Iraq: kick the can with ‘containment’ (status quo), accept Iraq's noncompliance and free Saddam, or resolve the Saddam problem with a final chance for Saddam to comply with Iraq's ceasefire obligations under credible threat of regime change.

Exactly! This was the choice of the president BEFORE George Bush. Why are people assuming that everything started again as if the containment of Iraq was even an issue.
And lifting containment was not really an option, since as we all know Iraq had the intent to get WMD's or seem to get them. So we'd remove containment only to contain them. Or we'd give up and say let the get WMD's. Obama and the modern day dems would do something like that and call it victory. But not even Clinton would be so reckless. How would however kick the can down the road.
Which is why, by the time it wound up in Bush's lap the only real option was regime change. And that was our policy ANYWAY.

jr565 said...

Robert Cooke, what UN authorization did Russia get to go into Syria and help the assad regime?

Robert Cook said...

"I think you give up that right when you invade two of your neighbors."

We encouraged Hussein to invade Iran, and we gave him money and arms to assist him.

As for his invading Kuwait, he discussed his differences with Kuwait--who were slant-drilling under Iraq territory, essentially stealing their oil--with American ambassador April Glaspie. When he indicated the possibility of his engaging militarily with Kuwait, she said such strife between neighbors in the region were none of our affair. She essentially gave Hussein a pass to do as he please, or he certainly believed she had.

Transcripts of her meeting with Hussein have her saying:

"...we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait. I was in the American Embassy in Kuwait during the late 1960s. The instruction we had during this period was that we should express no opinion on this issue and that the issue is not associated with America. James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction."

If we had felt strongly that his invading Kuwait was objectionable and would warrant a military response against Iraq, why didn't Glaspie express this, or why hadn't she been instructed to make this clear?

After he invaded Kuwait, when he realized the United States was prepared to attack him, he made it known he was amenable to diplomatic solution. George H.W. Bush, eager to prove his bona fides as a "war president," ignored this possibility to resolve the matter without inserting ourselves militarily, and we intervened.

jr565 said...

HEre's Russsia and China again:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/22/russia-china-veto-un-draft-resolution-refer-syria-international-criminal-court
Its always Russia and China. And yet, Russia, despite vetoing others from acting, gets to act in its interests. And the UN can't do anything about it.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:

After he invaded Kuwait, when he realized the United States was prepared to attack him, he made it known he was amenable to diplomatic solution. George H.W. Bush, eager to prove his bona fides as a "war president," ignored this possibility to resolve the matter without inserting ourselves militarily, and we intervened.

aww! How nice of them. THey get to invade and then offer a diplomatic solution that justifies their invasion.

Robert Cook said...

"(Hussein being less cooperative with the UN Inspectors)as stated on its face constituted material breach of the Gulf War ceasefire for casus belli."

Nope! Without UN Security Council vote to commence military action against Iraq, any such action by any party to the UN Charter--absent a clear self-defense rationale--was illegal. That Hussein was being "less cooperative" because the inspections regime was being used as a cover to conduct CIA spying in a sovereign nation is understandable and justifiable.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
Nope! Without UN Security Council vote to commence military action against Iraq, any such action by any party to the UN Charter--absent a clear self-defense rationale--was illegal

Bullshit. But if so, Democrats shouldnt have authorized use of force.

Robert Cook said...
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Sammy Finkelman said...

Trump is now being interviewed on Sean Hannity radio show. (a friendly interview)

During the interview, Hannity played the (bad) tape of Clinton saying he passed up an offer to trun over bin Laden. (Clinton later on claied that was a mistake, after Sandy Burglar checked the records. I think he robably destroyed them before he left office, not later)

Trump mentioned that he warned about bin Laden two years before Sept 11 in his book - not becasue he was a politician, though.

Robert Cook said...

"Bullshit. But if so, Democrats shouldnt have authorized use of force."

It's not bullshit, and, no, they shouldn't have. As I have said, everyone in Congress who was cowardly enough to give George Bush the authority to act as he pleased against anyone he pleased whenever he pleased is complicit in war crimes.

Sammy Finkelman said...

@Robert Cook invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

At that time the United States thought that Saddam Hussein might want to grab a bit of border territory which he would claim is part of Iraq.

Robert Cook said...

"aww! How nice of them. THey get to invade and then offer a diplomatic solution that justifies their invasion."

That's because GWH Bush said if Hussein didn't agree to withdraw, there would be a military response. Hussein didn't say, "I'll withdraw," but he made it known he was open to diplomatic resolution. Anyone who wished to avoid a needless war would certainly have welcomed that opening to resolve the matter. The reality is, we wanted to engage militarily with Iraq at that time, just as we wanted to invade Iraq in 2003. (We told lies then about Iraqi soldiers bayoneting Kuwaiti babies in incubators and spilling their bodies out on the hospital floors to inflame public sentiment against Iraq.) In 2003, as with Desert Storm a decade before, they just had to find an excuse to justify it, and, through lying, they did.

We didn't really care about Kuwait, as we didn't care about the fate of the Iraqi people under Hussein. We do what we do to serve our own prerogatives and agenda of empire.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Trump and Sean Hannity are agreeing with each other. e's be on TV with Sean Hannity on Thursday.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elcee said...

BrianE:
"Was going into Iraq a mistake? In hindsight yes."

Mindful of the alternatives, I disagree that in hindsight "going into Iraq [was] a mistake". At minimum, on the facts, the decision for OIF was right on the law and justified on the policy.

See the answer to "Was Operation Iraqi Freedom a strategic blunder or a strategic victory?". I suggest reviewing the various content linked in the sentence that begins, "President Bush handed OIF to President Obama having resolved the festering problem of Saddam's noncompliant, threatening, tyrannical, radicalized sectarian, terrorist regime (not a moment too soon based on what we now know)...".

The exclusive focus on that the pre-war intelligence was off the mark has obscured the fact findings that show Saddam was rearming with intent, ready capability, a large procurement program, and a covert program in the Iraq intelligence services (IIS) under cover of denial and deception activities. In other words, the danger of what we found Saddam was developing is at least in arm's reach of the battlefield-ready stockpiles that we didn't find.

In addition to its covert program, the IIS was also the regime arm that managed Saddam's terrorism, which was found to be worse than indicated before OIF. All of that, of course, violated the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441) for the Gulf War ceasefire. (Matching post-war findings with pre-war intelligence was not the governing standard of Iraqi compliance.)

The Iraq Survey Group findings have been often mischaracterized. ISG found a lot of proscribed stuff in their post-war investigation. It just didn’t match the pre-war intelligence. Plus, ISG qualified their report that a lot of evidence was missing, key regime officials were uncooperative, and suspect areas were found “sanitized”. Therefore, ISG could not conclude Iraq had disarmed as mandated in many areas where they also could not conclude Iraq was armed as indicated.

Knowing what we know now, that Saddam was in material breach across the board of the Gulf War ceasefire rearming with intent, working with Islamic terrorists, including the al Qaeda network, and was a sectarian tyrant is true.

In hindsight, mindful of the alternatives, "going into Iraq" to resolve the festering Saddam problem once he failed his "final opportunity to comply" (UNSCR 1441) was not a mistake. The mistake was how we approached securing Iraq and protecting the Iraqi people in the immediate post-war.

The President's decision for OIF was correct. But the post-war was a harsh learning curve through the COIN "Surge". Unfortunately, harsh learning curves are not abnormal in our military history. That's the nature of competing for the highest stakes against adaptive, committed enemies that exploit our vulnerabilities, such as the self-handicapping Powell Doctrine. Due to the nature of the enemy, it just happened that the OIF equivalent of the teaching (at the time disastrous) setbacks of the battles of New York, First Manassas, Kasserine Pass, and Chosin Reservoir took place in the post-war rather than the war.

On the other hand, our irresponsible exit from Iraq has been a compounding catastrophe. Disengaging from Iraq prematurely was a mistake.

Robert Cook said...

That's critical context. We faced a closed set of options with the Saddam problem."

Sez who? Sez those who want to claim Hussein posed an intractable problem and threat to us, when he was never either.

Robert Cook said...

"Knowing what we know now, that Saddam was in material breach across the board of the Gulf War ceasefire rearming with intent, working with Islamic terrorists, including the al Qaeda network, and was a sectarian tyrant is true."

Nope. Hussein was never working with Al Qaeda. An oft-repeated lie, it doesn't become magically true with repetition. He was not re-arming with intent, and he was not in "material breach across the board."

Knowing what we know now, which was knowable (and known then), our decision to invade Iraq was clearly a war-crime, and our continuation and expansion of military action throughout the Middle East continues and exacerbates those war-crimes.

Brando said...

"Trump mentioned that he warned about bin Laden two years before Sept 11 in his book - not becasue he was a politician, though."

That's not exactly Oracle of Delphi level foresight, though. After the embassy bombings of 1998, anyone talking about terrorism would have had to have mentioned bin Laden.

Now, if someone in 1999 had written about the dangers of unlocked cockpits and lax security screening allowing box cutters on planes, and those planes being used as missiles--that would be forward thinking.

I have no idea what the next terror attack will be like--coordinated bombings and shootings at shopping malls? Amtrak explosions at critical crossings? Dirty bombs? Germ warfare?--and our intel has to be running scenarios constantly and gathering as much info as possible to anticipate it. But the Monday morning quarterbacking is just cheap shots.

Brando said...

"aww! How nice of them. THey get to invade and then offer a diplomatic solution that justifies their invasion."

I hate to bring up the Hitler comparison, but he literally did that after every country he invaded. Even after France was taken, he tried diplomacy with the Brits (amazingly, it didn't work!).

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
Sez who? Sez those who want to claim Hussein posed an intractable problem and threat to us, when he was never either

Then why did the whole security counsel agree to resolutions 1-16? All predicated on the fact that Sadaam did pose a threat that needed to be contained?

jr565 said...

Sammy Finkelman wrote:
Trump mentioned that he warned about bin Laden two years before Sept 11 in his book - not becasue he was a politician, though.

Holy crap, what an imbecile. YES DONALD you probably watched Fox News at the time or CNN, because we had knowledge of Osama in 1996.

Gusty Winds said...

When the Bernie Sanders voters are pissed because the Democrat nomination was bought and paid for through the corrupt 'super delegate' system, it will be easier for them to defect to Trump.

He is actually expanding the GOP brand and they are to blind to notice.

elcee said...

Robert Cook:
"Hussein was never working with Al Qaeda."

Incorrect.

Iraqi Perspectives Project (2007), which analyzed captured regime materials:
Captured Iraqi documents have uncovered evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic terrorist organizations. ... Because Saddam�s security organizations and Osama bin Laden�s terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance of and, in some ways, a �de facto� link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals ... evidence shows that Saddam�s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime.

Robert Cook:
"He was not re-arming with intent"

Incorrect.

Iraq Survey Group (2004):
From 1999 until he was deposed in April 2003, Saddam’s conventional weapons and WMD-related procurement programs steadily grew in scale, variety, and efficiency.
...
Prohibited goods and weapons were being shipped into Iraq with virtually no problem. The only notable items stopped in this flow were some aluminum tubes, which became the center of debate over the existence of a nuclear enrichment effort in Iraq. Major items had no trouble getting across the border, including 380 liquid-fuel rocket engines. Indeed, Iraq was designing missile systems with the assumption that sanctioned material would be readily available.
...
In addition to preserved capability, we have clear evidence of his intent to resume WMD as soon as sanctions were lifted.

BrianE said...

"Mindful of the alternatives, I disagree that in hindsight "going into Iraq [was] a mistake". At minimum, on the facts, the decision for OIF was right on the law and justified on the policy." - elcee

I think we underestimated the Iran effect. Once Saddam was gone, the unleashing of Iran destabilized the region and forced the ISIS response. We might have kept a lid on the festering Sunni-Shia/Arab-Persian boil had we not done the Obama cut and run, but I don't think that was a long-term solution either. It would have just left our forces as sitting ducks, hated by both sides. Yes, Obama may have forced the Iraq/Iran government to back off our troops facing criminal liability for defending themselves and maintaining the peace for a time-- but only a time.
I wonder what would have happend if, when we hit Bahgdad, we had turned left and taken out Assad and the Iranian influence there. It might have reduced the free-for all now taking place in Syria.

elcee said...

Robert Cook,

FYI, international agreement doesn't supersede sovereign authority under the Constitution, to wit:
[Operation Desert Fox] is consistent with and has been taken in support of numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions, including Resolutions 678 and 687, which authorize U.N. Member States to use "all necessary means" to implement the Security Council resolutions and to restore peace and security in the region and establish the terms of the cease-fire mandated by the Council, including those related to the destruction of Iraq's WMD programs. ... I directed these actions pursuant to my authority under the Constitution as Commander in Chief and as Chief Executive, and to conduct U.S. foreign relations, as well as under the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1) enacted in January 1991. (Clinton, 18DEC98)

traditionalguy said...

Bush I deliberately counted on the Iran effect when he let Saddam keep Iraq. The dummy was Bush II who thought he was smarter than Daddy and screwed it all up.

The next 5 years were experiments by Dumb and Dumber sending the marines to pay for Fallujah twice, and all the while Bush kept the Afghanistan show going to pretend something there was worth 14 years now of useless deaths among our Army and National Guard Units.

Saint Croix said...

He is actually expanding the GOP brand and they are to blind to notice.

Trump needs to pick up lots and lots of Democrat voters, because Trump is losing lots and lots of Republican voters. Or have you not noticed?

R. Chatt said...

We not only had knowledge of OBL in 1996 but we also had knowledge of the existence of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda and their goals to attack the US. Those goals are not time sensitive, they are open-ended. No matter how long it takes, get it? If we had been alert to the aims of the Muslim Brotherhood we would have maintained a closer watch of their operatives in the US, as well as their political operatives in Conservative circles*. We would have paid attention to the mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. There were dots to be connected for those who were willing to acknowledge the dots.

*Grover Norquist, Sami Al-Arian, the Islamist lobby among others The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood drafted a secret plan in 1991 that defined its “work in America as a kind of grand jihad…in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”

Bush was to Meet Muslim Brotherhood Affiliates on 9/11

elcee said...

traditionalguy:
"Bush I deliberately counted on the Iran effect when he let Saddam keep Iraq. The dummy was Bush II who thought he was smarter than Daddy and screwed it all up."

Incorrect.

In fact, Presidents HW Bush and Clinton viewed Iraqi regime change as the solution to the Saddam problem. The Iraqi regime change policy that was made a legal mandate under President Clinton with Public Law 105-338 (1998), The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, merely codified President HW Bush's policy for Iraqi regime change that had been active since May 1991 at the latest.

The US role in nation-building post-Saddam Iraq was also implicit under HW Bush before it was made a legal mandate with section 7 of P.L. 105-338. Although HW Bush had stated he did not want US forces engaged in long-term nation-building with Iraq, his invasive, multifaceted enforcement of the UNSCR 688 humanitarian mandates set the path for humanitarian intervention in general and peace operations with Iraq in particular.

elcee said...

traditionalguy,

Add:

See the answer(s) to "Was Operation Iraqi Freedom about WMD or democracy?" and "Was the invasion of Iraq perceived to be a nation-building effort?".

Note the continuity of the HW Bush, Clinton, and Bush administration positions on Iraqi regime change.

elcee said...

BrianE:
"Once Saddam was gone, the unleashing of Iran destabilized the region and forced the ISIS response."

Obama's disengagement of American leadership unleashed Iran into Iraq. And in post-OIF Iraq, the Iran and ISIS problems have combined. However, before Obama changed course from Bush, the Iraq intervention had opened the way for a counter-Iran strategy relying on 3 prongs: stabilize Iraq as an American ally, support civil reform in Iran, and increase sanctions pressure. The 1st prong would boost the 2nd prong.

President Obama, instead, did the opposite of all three.

The "destabilized the region" goes to the degeneration of the subsequent Arab Spring, not the Iraqi regime change nor even Iran, foremost. The main culprits are corrupt regimes and al Qaeda and AQ derivatives that pursued their standard MO of exploiting any opportunity to ply their revolution, with or without Iran. The terrorists have similarly intervened in Asia, Africa, and Europe, and the Middle East is their top prize, though all of the above are circled on their aspirational map. Defeating the US in Iraq was supposed to be AQ's big win, but that didn't happen. But Obama's course change from Bush and the degeneration of the Arab Spring have given AQ and its derivatives a second shot at it, and they've seized the opportunity.

BrianE:
"It would have just left our forces as sitting ducks, hated by both sides."

You and I have different views of the US mission in Iraq. For my perspective on it, see the sources compiled in the post linked at "irresponsible exit from Iraq" in my earlier comment to you.

BrianE:
"I wonder what would have happend if, when we hit Bahgdad, we had turned left and taken out Assad and the Iranian influence there."

OIF wasn't ad hoc like that. The law and policy, fact basis of the Iraq intervention was distinct, having developed over a decade-plus. There weren't legal grounds to jump from Iraq to Syria.

Keep in mind that the basic mandate of the Iraq intervention since 1990-1991 was to bring Iraq into compliance with the UNSCR 660-series resolutions, including the humanitarian mandates of UNSCR 688 (1991). The principal compliance mission of OIF began in earnest on 01MAY03 when major combat operations ended to commence the post-war peace operations. Jumping from Iraq to Syria would have contradicted the basic mandate of the Iraq intervention, not to mention multiply the post-war responsibilities.

Consider this hypothetical: What if Arab Spring with Saddam?

Knowing what we know now (and then) about Saddam's world-leading terrorism, including Islamic terrorism, illicit weapons trade, sectarian radicalization of Iraqi society, terrorist rule, and ambitions, I doubt Saddam would have benefited the Arab Spring. The Saddam regime and Iran wouldn't have canceled out. Instead, Saddam would have added a highly toxic input.

Sammy Finkelman said...

"Trump mentioned that he warned about bin Laden two years before Sept 11 in his book - not becasue he was a politician, though."

Brando said...2/16/16, 3:00 PM

That's not exactly Oracle of Delphi level foresight, though. After the embassy bombings of 1998, anyone talking about terrorism would have had to have mentioned bin Laden.

Now, if someone in 1999 had written about the dangers of unlocked cockpits and lax security screening allowing box cutters on planes, and those planes being used as missiles--that would be forward thinking.


Alan Dershowitz used to mention this in his Harvard Law school classes. But he had the plane crashing into the Empire State Building.

Now everyone had to know it would be the World Trade Center, so he must have changed it in order not to give anybody ideas.

http://www.rockawave.com/news/2002-01-26/Columnists/From_the_Editor's_Desk0126.html

Alan Dershowitz likes to posit hypothetical situations to get his students thinking outside the box. Prior to September 11, posited the following hypothetical situation to his students at Harvard.

"Terrorists have taken over a plane with hundreds of passengers, and that plane is heading straight for the Empire State Building in an obvious attempt to damage that building. Is the American government justified in ordering that the plane be shot down?"






I have no idea what the next terror attack will be like--coordinated bombings and shootings at shopping malls? Amtrak explosions at critical crossings? Dirty bombs? Germ warfare?--and our intel has to be running scenarios constantly and gathering as much info as possible to anticipate it. But the Monday morning quarterbacking is just cheap shots.


Sammy Finkelman said...

I have no idea what the next terror attack will be like--coordinated bombings and shootings at shopping malls? Amtrak explosions at critical crossings? Dirty bombs? Germ warfare?--and our intel has to be running scenarios constantly and gathering as much info as possible to anticipate it. But the Monday morning quarterbacking is just cheap shots.

The first thing to keep in mind is that there is actually an awful lot of deterrence, and we musn't confuse deterrence with physical security. ISIS has been very careful not to cross the Turkish border, the Jordanian border, and to the extent they had some affiliate near, the Israeli border. And they pulled out of Lebanon. (ISIS did maybe explode some bombs in Turkey, and they asassinated some people, particularly those trying to get the word out about their rule in Raqqa, but they haven't tried to occupy any place outside of Syria and Iraq. They have some distant colonies, like the one in Libya.)

People did foresee it. There was someone at the flight school where Zacarias Moussaoui was training who thought he might be intending to crash an airplane into the World Trade Center.

Tibore said...

"People did foresee it. There was someone at the flight school where Zacarias Moussaoui was training who thought he might be intending to crash an airplane into the World Trade Center."

If I've identified the source of your information correctly, it wasn't the flight school, it was the FBI. And the situation is a bit more complicated than someone openly foreseeing and connecting Moussaoui with the WTC plot. From the Office of the Inspector General's report on the "FBI's Handling of Intelligence Information Related to the September 11 Attacks"

"From our review, early on the RFU (Radical Fundamentalist Unit) appears to have discounted the concerns of the Minneapolis FBI about Moussaoui. Don and Martin believed that Minneapolis was overreacting and couching facts in an “inflammatory” way to get people “spun up” about someone who was only “suspected” of being a terrorist. The RFU downplayed and undersold the field office’s concerns about Moussaoui, even writing “that there is no indication that either [Moussaoui or Al-Attas] had plans for nefarious activity.” In response to the Minneapolis FBI’s concern that it wanted “to make sure Moussaoui doesn’t get control of an airplane to crash it into the [ World Trade Center] or something like that,” Martin dismissed this possibility, stating “You have a guy interested in this type of aircraft. That is it.” As we discuss below, we believe that the RFU did not fully consider with an open mind the evidence against Moussaoui and examine in a collaborative fashion with Minneapolis how to best pursue its investigation. Rather, it quickly and inappropriately dismissed Minneapolis’ information as incomplete and its concerns as far-fetched.

The Minneapolis office strongly suspected Moussaoui of something nefarious, but they couldn't really elucidate it good enough for higher ups to approve the pursual of an "FISA" (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant. And at the same time, the higher ups didn't give their Minneapolis colleagues the benefit of the doubt, nor did they try to steer the investigators in a different and potentially more productive way (as the OIG report states: Look into investigating it and obtaining warrants on the basis of criminal activity, not intelligence gathering). So on the one hand, an FBI office did indeed have suspicions of Moussaoui, but on the other, it wasn't quite to the point where a direct link with an attack on the WTC was actually made. At that point, they simply viewed him as a potential source for intel on radical groups. But in the end, it was less "foreseen" and more speculated that he was up to no good, with the WTC mention being a backhanded one, not a firm conclusion from the evidence.

Again, as I said earlier: It's hard to wade through the morass of evidence. And harder to pick out the significant from the noise.

jr565 said...

Cooke wrote:
Sez who? Sez those who want to claim Hussein posed an intractable problem and threat to us, when he was never either.

He was NEVER EITHER? Sure, if you avoid all the evidence that he was always. If you ignore all facts and evidence, much of which was laid out for you by Elcee for example, then sure say there is no evidence. only you'd be arguing from willful ignorance.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Farmer said...

Obsession over the question of whether or not Bush lied about WMD always struck me as a pointless, semantic distraction. It was the equivalent of worrying about Benghazi in the face of the much bigger strategic catastrophe that was the Libyan war. For what it's worth, I never believed that the administration knowingly lied about WMD.

Why make a knowingly false case for WMD that you already know will be almost immediately refuted in the post-war phase? It looks to me like the administration made a classic logical error by beginning with a conclusion and then working backwards to make sure evidence that looked like a square peg could nonetheless be made to fit into a round whole. Allusions to a reconstituted nuclear program and "mushroom cloud" were probably the most egregious.

The history of US intelligence is replete with examples of getting big questions wrong, from Pearl Harbor to Bay of Pigs to the Yom Kippur War to the Shah of Iran to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Richard Clark may have started bad mouthing the Iraq War to anyone with a camera, but back in the late 1990s, when the Clinton administration blew up the Al Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, it was Richard Clark who went to the press and said that the facility was blown up because it had connections to bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and chemical weapons. No evidence for any of these connections was ever convincingly presented, and the Republicans at the time were scorning the president for "wag the dog" tactics.

elcee said...

J. Farmer:
"For what it's worth, I never believed that the administration knowingly lied about WMD."

Answer to "Did Bush lie his way to war with Iraq?".

J. Farmer:
"Allusions to a reconstituted nuclear program and "mushroom cloud" were probably the most egregious."

Excerpt:
A false premise asserted by OIF opponents is the casus belli for OIF was based on a claim that Saddam possessed nuclear weapons. However, President Bush stated on October 7, 2002, "Many people have asked how close Saddam Hussein is to developing a nuclear weapon. Well, we don't know exactly, and that's the problem."

Saint Croix said...

I love the Putin-Trump bromance.

Hey, if they fall in love, they can invite HIllary to the wedding. Again!

J. Farmer said...

@elcee:

Two months after the President's address to Congress, Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" and went further than the president in alleging Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program.

"He's had years to get good at it and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons," Cheney said.

The White House has now released a statement acknowledging the Niger documents were forged but insisting there were other intelligence reports at the time suggesting Iraq was indeed attempting to acquire uranium from other countries in Africa. Still, the White House says, those reports were not specific.

"Because of this lack of specificity, this reporting alone did not rise to the level of inclusion in a presidential speech. That said, the issue of Iraq's attempts to acquire uranium from abroad was not an element underpinning the judgment reached by most intelligence agencies that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program," the statement said.


The article can be read here. The White House had to walk back claims about Hussein attempting to procure uranium from Niger.

BrianE said...

elcee, thanks for the detailed answers to many questions.

My arm-chair criticism of the aftermath of the Iraq invasion is based on an unrealistic expectation that we were going to bridge the ancient Shia-Sunni hatred. Even if Obama had continued Bush's strategy, it appears to me the Iranian influence was underestimated. Even with our involvement, the Shia politicians would have marginalized their Sunni opponents. We wanted an integrated military force, but was that possible, given the mistrust.

Someone jokingly stated that we should have gone for Biden's plan of dividing the country in three along natural ethnic/religious lines. At this point, that idea doesn't look so crazy. We are so obsessed with multiculturalism at times we fail to recognize it's limits.

But even so, we might have been able to continue to force a Sunni and Kurdish component to the government. I don't think success would have been a given.

As to the WMD's, at the time of the invasion I thought Bush was risking his presidency on finding WMD's. I was surprised when he was re-elected, given the importance that had been placed on the 'slam dunk' nature of the argument. I guess the debate on this thread is where that argument originated-- in the intelligence agencies or the White House. History and the record shows it was the intelligence agencies-- but to what extent was the analysis self-serving by the CIA?

I don't fault Bush's decision. I think he did what he calculated was best to protect the country against a future attack as I've said, Saddam became more adventurous.

On a completely different subject, for those conspiracy lovers, go to: www.jaynadavis.com/ for an interesting take on the third terrorist in the OKC bombing and to see the Saddam connection.

BrianE said...

elcee, thanks for the detailed answers to many questions.

My arm-chair criticism of the aftermath of the Iraq invasion is based on an unrealistic expectation that we were going to bridge the ancient Shia-Sunni hatred. Even if Obama had continued Bush's strategy, it appears to me the Iranian influence was underestimated. Even with our involvement, the Shia politicians would have marginalized their Sunni opponents.
We might have been able to continue to force a Sunni and Kurdish component to the government. I don't think success would have been a given.

As to the WMD's, at the time of the invasion I thought Bush was risking his presidency on finding WMD's. I was surprised when he was re-elected, given the importance that had been placed on the 'slam dunk' nature of the argument. I guess the debate on this thread is where that argument originated-- in the intelligence agencies or the White House. History and the record shows it was the intelligence agencies-- but to what extent was the analysis self-serving by the CIA?

I don't fault Bush's decision. I think he did what he calculated was best to protect the country against a future attack as Saddam became more adventurous. So looking back on it, it's easy to say it was a mistake. It wasn't worth the cost. Had we not gone in, and another large attack had occurred, traced back to Saddam, we would be having a different debate.

On a completely different subject, for those conspiracy lovers, go to: www.jaynadavis.com/ for an interesting take on the third terrorist in the OKC bombing and to see the Saddam connection.