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May 24, 2010

Obama Thanks Troops for Winning "Rash, Dumb, Pointless War" He Never Supported

That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics....I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.

- Barack Obama

The half vast editorial staff have been feeling a bit morose of late. To tell the truth, we miss the delicately nuanced Euro-stylings of the Former Junior Senator from Massachusetts, John "Foregainst" Kerry:

The Blog Princess awoke from her slumbers this morning with a most distressing thought rattling around the inside of her brain housing group. Is Obama the next incarnation of the French-speaking junior Senator from Massachusetts who, in 2004, came within a hair's breadth of razing 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in a fashion reminiscent of Ton-Loc?

The similarities are striking: like M. Kerry, Barack Obama is unshakeably "foregainst" the war on terror whenever the subject comes up... which, of late, is not often:

As the November elections approach, candidates across the spectrum will ostentatiously wear their support for "our warriors" like body armor, which I suppose is better than the alternative. But as the troops become props, the real men and women who are sweating and taking fire and sleeping on hard ground 7,000 miles away are oddly missing from the conversation.

Fortunately, our Commander in Chief momentarily broke his inexplicable silence to thank graduating cadets at West Point for persevering in Iraq:

Mr. Obama all but declared victory in Iraq, crediting the military but not Mr. Bush, who sent more troops in 2007. "A lesser Army might have seen its spirit broken," Mr. Obama said. "But the American military is more resilient than that. Our troops adapted, they persisted, they partnered with coalition and Iraqi counterparts, and through their competence and creativity and courage, we are poised to end our combat mission in Iraq this summer."

The President's constantly evolving stance on the global struggle to Counter Violent Extremism is all the more noteworthy for the brilliant manner in which it showcases his deep commitment to forgetting rejecting the false choices, stale divisive rhetoric and failed policehs of the past 8 years:

Barack Obama's campaign scrubbed his presidential Web site over the weekend to remove criticism of the U.S. troop "surge" in Iraq, the Daily News has learned.

The presumed Democratic nominee replaced his Iraq issue Web page, which had described the surge as a "problem" that had barely reduced violence.

"The surge is not working," Obama's old plan stated, citing a lack of Iraqi political cooperation but crediting Sunni sheiks - not U.S. military muscle - for quelling violence in Anbar Province.

And in truth, America should be grateful to whoever the heck is responsible for winning this dumb war. Admittedly, Iraq was an unnecessary and resource-draining conflict that hurt rather than helped American interests, but nevertheless we should all take pride in the successful prosecution of the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy.

Yessir! I sure am glad America won succeeded at this whole rash, dumb war based on passion and politics rather than reason and principle thingy. Because nothing screams "smart power" like recycling misguided policies from a war that didn't need to be fought.

On the other hand, the sudden usefulness of the failed tactics of the last administration means we can finally stop blaming George W. Bush.... right?

Posted by Cassandra at May 24, 2010 08:50 AM

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Comments

The decision to invade Iraq was a colossal foreign policy blunder of epic proportions. W should not be forgiven or forgotten for that.

The decision to invade Iraq has absolutely nothing to do with how outstandingly our troops have performed across the board.

Posted by: Craig at May 24, 2010 01:38 PM

The decision to invade Iraq was a colossal foreign policy blunder of epic proportions. W should not be forgiven or forgotten for that.

You make a compelling case, Craig. Given the overwhelming evidence you provide to shore up your assertion, I fear we shall be forced to consider the matter settled from henceforth :p

Posted by: Helen Thomas at May 24, 2010 01:41 PM

Ah, yes, the colossal foreign policy blunder of finding a bunch of those those pesky WMDs that weren't the WMDs that the *Dems* were looking for, even though they weren't the ones over here looking for them...

Posted by: BillT at May 24, 2010 02:23 PM

My son just read "Animal Farm" last week, and we have been discussing it. That WH website of his keeps making me think of the Wall in the books.

Posted by: DdR at May 24, 2010 02:23 PM

The clossal foreign policy blunder of epic proportions (IMHO) was not taking out that SOB and his regime in Iraq during Desert Storm when we had em on the run. I knew then it would come back to haunt us.

Posted by: ziobuck at May 24, 2010 03:28 PM

If only we'd listened to John Kerry... before he changed his mind, that is :p

Posted by: Helen Thomas on a Treadmill at May 24, 2010 03:29 PM

"Barack Obama is unshakeably "foregainst" the war on terror whenever the subject comes up... which, of late, is not often: ..."

The USA incursion into Iraq was not about the "war on terror", even though the Dubya administration's advertising agency branded it as such: it was the war against Saddam Hussein and to carry out the Project for the New American Century [http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqmiddleeast.htm], both of which had aims which the Dubya administration and its advertising agency never truthfully acknowledged to America or the world.

As the Blog Princess herself has oftentimes said: "We've been over this before. If you haven't bothered to check the facts which establish this as truth, we can't help you any more".

Posted by: I Call BS at May 24, 2010 04:12 PM

The USA incursion into Iraq was not about the "war on terror", even though the Dubya administration's advertising agency branded it as such: it was the war against Saddam Hussein and to carry out the Project for the New American Century [http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqmiddleeast.htm], both of which had aims which the Dubya administration and its advertising agency never truthfully acknowledged to America or the world.

What "facts", ICBS?

A general link to an anti-war site is not an argument and imparts no "facts".

Posted by: Helen Thomas on a Treadmill at May 24, 2010 04:17 PM

Well, in the spirit of quoting the hostess:

You make a compelling case, [ICBS]. Given the overwhelming evidence you provide to shore up your assertion, I fear we shall be forced to consider the matter settled from henceforth :p

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at May 24, 2010 04:18 PM

What "facts", ICBS? A general link to an anti-war site is not an argument and imparts no "facts". Posted by: Helen Thomas on a Treadmill at May 24, 2010 04:17 PM

"We've been over this before. If you haven't bothered to check the facts which establish this as truth, we can't help you any more".

Posted by: I Call BS at May 24, 2010 05:02 PM

This is the last warning, ICBS.

The difference between you and I is that when I make an assertion, I actually link to supporting material directly (no, not the entire web site - a document that directly backs up what I'm saying).

I don't have time for trolls and that is how you're behaving.

You can either knock it off, or I'll just delete any further annoying commentary.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 24, 2010 05:04 PM

wow. An unusual dose of sarcasm from you today.

Posted by: Darius at May 24, 2010 05:29 PM

I will admit to being a tad bit cranky today, Darius.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 24, 2010 05:51 PM

Cassandra: We have debated this over and over and over and over and ... we finally reached a point where we acknowledged that we would never agree: you maintain that Iraq was about 9/11; I maintain that Iraq was never about 9/11 (other than by exploiting America's fear and desire for easy, albeit erroneous, solutions) and have I pointed you to a historical analysis that shows Iraq was not about 9/11 - it appears that you have not read it, because you think it is "an anti-war site", as though the accurace or inaccuracy of its chronology would depend on its politics. You'll never convince me; I'll never convince you. You think (and have repeatedly said) that I am ignoring the evidence (as well as your argument, with which I disagree); I think that you are ignoring the evidence (as well as my argument, with which it is clear you disagree). I am soprry if this has caused you to be cranky or contributed to your crankiness. I am indifferent (for purposes of THIS discussion only) to the fact that Democrats also jumped on the bandwagon to rush to exact revenge on Saddam Hussein for 9/11 - the ract is that SH had nothing to do wtih 9/11. Afghanistan is a different matter and I have never maintained otherwise. If this makes me a troll, sobeit. If you decide to ban someone whom you have failed to persuade, that doesn't improve your argument one whit.

Posted by: I Call BS at May 24, 2010 06:04 PM

I apologize for the typos.

Posted by: I Call BS at May 24, 2010 06:05 PM

I reamin unconvinced that what we have gained in Iraq was worth the cost. I held that view from the beginning. I am convinced that to describe it in terms of wrong, dumb, rash or whatever, is foolish at best. It completely misses the point that the reason we think about these things is to gain a little wisdom, not assign blame.

There were sound reasons to do it, but I don't really think they met my tests for the eventual costs.

This is my bottom line question. After many casualties and heartwrenching costs to the families have our policies in the Middle East been materially advanced?

Posted by: Allen at May 24, 2010 06:13 PM

There were sound reasons to do it, but I don't really think they met my tests for the eventual costs.

There may well have been sound reasons to do it (rid the world of SH, a murderous butcher of his own people), but the reasons advanced by the Dubya adminstration had nothing to do with 9/11, other than the exploitation, as I said, of fear and a desire for swift revenge.

Posted by: I Call BS at May 24, 2010 06:17 PM

but the reasons advanced by the Dubya adminstration had nothing to do with 9/11,

Whoever said they had to?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at May 24, 2010 06:21 PM

And ICBS, Cass said nothing about banning you. Only deleting those particular comments which seek only to be argumentative. If you have already conceeded that you will not convince someone, there is no point to continually bringing it up unless your point is to anger the other person. That is not debate, it is not persuasion, it is not conversation. It is trolling and it is rude.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at May 24, 2010 06:27 PM

This is my bottom line question. After many casualties and heartwrenching costs to the families have our policies in the Middle East been materially advanced?

Iraq is no longer a threat to Israel and there's a very *young* democracy growing here that likes Americans. I'd say that was a material advancement.

Posted by: BillT at May 24, 2010 07:20 PM

Not to mention that we are no longer spending millions of dollars a year to maintain a no fly zone over a country that wouldn't allow UN inspectors to enforce UN resolutions, and we no longer are diverting millions of dollars in "humanitarian" assistance to a brutal dictator who starved and tortured his own people and spent the money Western nations sent him to fund anti-American terrorism.

Unlike ICBS, I didn't link to the CNAS home page (Gee, if you'd just read the entire freaking site you *might* stumble onto his argument!). And I didn't link to a list of links, none of which seem to have anything to do with his point (Gee - why aren't you willing to read the entire list - certainly there might be *something*, *somewhere* that supports his assertions).

Of course ICBS doesn't read things even when you link to them directly and they're on point. Even reading one post on DADT in which I explicitly spelled out what he finally (after innumerable comments) "figured out" might be my point was "too hard".

But we're supposed to read an entire web site hoping we'll figure out what the hell "proves" his point.

Whatever.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 24, 2010 07:27 PM

Fair enough Bill, but it needs to last at least as long as it took to achieve it. I'll admit I'm rather pessimistic on the matter.

I also understand that the question of, what should we have done instead? Falls directly to me to answer. I still don't have a good one, and I recognize that lack.

Posted by: Allen at May 24, 2010 08:13 PM

Cassandra wrote "...nevertheless we should all take pride in the successful prosecution of the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy."

One suspects that there are "sarcasms mark-ups" lodged somewhere within that passage. In any event, anyone interested in the subject of American foreign policy would have to have been asleep for the past 8 or 9 years, or be a fool, not to be able to recite (off the top of their head) the 5 or 10 major points in support of the assertion that the Iraq adventure qualifies as a major foreign policy mis-step for our nation.

There is no real question to be addressed in this forum whether such an assertion is accurate or not. Some believe it is and others don't, and at this point in time, there scarcely is any prospect that the twain shall meet. ICBS could write a dissertation on the subject; Craig could go chapter and verse for scores of pages; Allen could cite Ricks and McAllister, and Hackworth and Bacevich, and Eisenhower and Ganz, and Chomsky and the Pope, and Rumsfeld and Shadid and Fisk and Packer (etc.), in a brilliantly complete and subtle tour-de-force; and pond could do similarly, perhaps . . . but to what end?

Cassandra must know what the main arguments are, for she has not been asleep nor is she a fool; for some reason(s), though, they are not persuasive to her. Who knows why, and why one should care are questions unanswered and likely unanswerable -- and (hence) fundamentally uninteresting.

Posted by: pond at May 24, 2010 08:22 PM

Quoting from the WSJ article, "Oil for Terror", to which the Blog Princess linked us in her post of May 24, 2010 at 07:27 PM, we read the following, which is somewhat contradictory of the absolutism suggested by the title of the article:

"… no one really knows right now just how much of those billions went where--or what portion of that kickback cash Saddam might have forwarded to whatever he deemed a worthy cause."

You will receive no dispute from ICBS that SH was a bad actor, but that wasn’t where the disagreement today started.

Posted by: I Call BS at May 24, 2010 08:35 PM

Forgive me for thinking you were informed, ICBS. I'm not sure how big the bubble you've been living is, but I figured anyone who had been following the news would know from that article about the multiple government investigations (Duelfer, the House Foreign Relations Committee, et cetera, ad nauseam) that all found massive fraud and links to terrorism.

But since you apparently don't know, here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/17/iraq/main656284.shtml

Congressional investigators say Saddam Hussein diverted money from the U.N. oil-for-food program to pay millions of dollars to families of Palestinian suicide bombers who carried out attacks on Israel.

Investigators who have been following a money trail say the former Iraqi president tapped secret bank accounts in Jordan - where he collected bribes from foreign companies and individuals doing illicit business under the humanitarian program - to reward the families up to $25,000 each.

Documents prepared for a Wednesday hearing by the House International Relations Committee outline the new findings about how Saddam funneled money to the Palestinian families.

Investigators examining the oil-for-food program felt it was "important for us to determine whether the profits from his corruption were put toward terrorist purposes," committee chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill., said of Saddam's well-known financial support of suicide bombers.

Wednesday's hearing, however, will focus on a French bank that handled most of the money for the program. An audit by a U.S. regulatory agency of a small sample of transactions out of the $60 billion U.N. escrow account managed by BNP-Paribas has raised serious questions concerning the bank's compliance with U.S. money laundering laws, investigators said.

*sigh*

Posted by: Cassandra at May 24, 2010 09:54 PM

*sigh*
Posted by: Cassandra at May 24, 2010 09:54 PM

Why do you bother to bandy words with a troll?

Posted by: camojack at May 25, 2010 01:19 AM

Because she is an innately good person who tries to honestly engage someone else intellectually, even if that person is arguing in bad faith.

Posted by: MikeD at May 25, 2010 09:13 AM

I checked ICBS's link, it pretty much supports GWB and the decision to fight in Iraq. But I've started new meds so I might have missed something.

Posted by: crazy mike at May 25, 2010 09:44 AM

But I've started new meds so I might have missed something.

OK, that made me laugh :)

I do not know that I'm all that good a person (but thanks, Mike). I do try to assume the best until I've been given ample reason to do otherwise.

I think people misunderstand each other a lot because we're different. Lots of times my 'radar' goes off very early, but I'll continue to give someone the benefit of the doubt until they push me too far.

My husband is naturally more suspicious of people in real life than I am, but when we watch TV my quick take on a character is usually right (and interestingly, I'm a lot harsher on hypothetical people than real ones and also harsher on hypothetical people than my husband is).

Unlike him, however, I view such judgments with suspicion in real life. On TV there are no consequences for misjudging a person. In real life, not so much.

I guess I prefer to err on the side of leniency, though I have no problem letting someone have it once I'm convinced they're acting in bad faith.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 25, 2010 10:01 AM

I didn't expect that Iraq would become a paradise as a result of our military intervention, or that all of the U.S.'s foreign policy problems in SW Asia would be solved. I did think that a hugely dangerous and disruptive power in that region would be scaled way back, that tens of millions of Iraqis would be rid of murderous leader, and that the most ambitiously insane leaders in that region would learn to equate a defiance of civilized demands with the likelihood of an effective armed response.

It's a shame that Iran can be pretty sure it won't suffer the same consequences from the same provocative behavior. But Iran at least has to be a little less complacent about its chances than Iraq was. The next election is not that far away, and there's always Israel.

But I understand ICBS's frustration. When you see years of effort and a large fraction of the public treasure expended on something you know in your gut is pointless or even harmful, bitterness is inevitable. (Kind of the way I feel about the Nanny State.) The temptation to be a troll on such a subject is very great, if you hold your listeners in contempt and have lost any hope that you can marshall arguments or facts that might sway them to your point of view.

Once that kind of contempt has set in, though, it's really best just to go away. It's not a conversation any more; it's an indulgence in impotent spite. I have to place strict limits on the time I spend on pro-abortion sites for that very reason: I can't persuade anyone once I give in to churlishness.

Posted by: Texan99 at May 25, 2010 10:22 AM

Obama just kicked Arizona in the teeth.

Three cheers for the Left's king?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 10:54 AM

"We've been over this before. If you haven't bothered to check the facts which establish this as truth, we can't help you any more".

That's what I told you, IC, in the Communist and gay priest manufactured crisis issue.

Plagiarists on the Left really should not be all about on the internet acting like Obama's their King and cheerleading for him.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 10:57 AM

"The decision to invade Iraq has absolutely nothing to do with how outstandingly our troops have performed across the board."

So sayeth the Peace Time officer and general staff.

We don't need combat experience or reality to intrude on Ready and Fitness reports. All of that can be handled in house by bureaucrats.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 10:58 AM

"Fair enough Bill, but it needs to last at least as long as it took to achieve it. I'll admit I'm rather pessimistic on the matter."

How many people died or had their lives destroyed as a result of the US Civil War.

If you want it to last "longer", then you had better be prepared for just as many to suffer, at a MINIMUM with no real guarantee that Iraq will be as stable as the US after the US Civil War.

That doesn't really get you anything. Know why? Because it will require even more people and their families to die, suffer, and be destroyed. Asking for "results" while demanding that the cost be held down to a limit, has no real meaning. Reality and the world will not respect your wishes on this regard. It has its own thing going on. Many people have attempted to shoot to wound, because they thought they could hold back the tide of reality. They thought they could mold reality with wishes rather than action and pure focus. Didn't work out for some reason. It feels good. It may even sound good. It could even look good on paper. Look at the cost of killing someone with a gun when it wasn't necessary. What if he had a bad childhood? What if he was abused? What if he was stealing to pay for his little sister's medical care? What if he was stealing to feed his family? Why NOT shoot to wound and reduce the casualty and pain for you and everybody else around you? Because.

Currently, the amount invested in Iraq is minimum. Certainly as compared to what is invested in socialist programs and immigration.

There is no guarantee of success. There is only the guarantee that you will fail if you do not make the attempt. If you commit nothing, failure can be absolutely assured. That, at least, can be guaranteed.

"I also understand that the question of, what should we have done instead? Falls directly to me to answer. I still don't have a good one, and I recognize that lack."

That's water under the bridge. We already crossed it, set demolition charges on the bridge, and blew it up. No way back, people. Better for you to think about what to do now and in the future about Iraq and the Middle East.

"Why do you bother to bandy words with a troll?"

Part of her doesn't expect anything better from him, even as the other part hopes and tries.

Not exactly a coherent position from an external perspective. Obviously I have my doubts on that line of approach precisely because it is hard to analyze both from the inside, internally, and from the outside, externally.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 11:16 AM

ICBS's comments remind me of e-mails I see at work, only enough specifics to lure someone into giving answers for an issue, then using those answers out of context or for a different issue all together to further there own point. When I visited the link and found that, in the few documents I read, it contradicted ICBS's own argument I decided it might be a good idea to at least comment on this because in my paranoid mind ICBS was pulling a "you didn't even look when…" trap to use in a future discussion.

Posted by: crazy mike at May 25, 2010 11:21 AM

Link

That is one of the funnier letters written to Congress that I have seen. Now granted, this was before people knew what kind of duck PillowC and Reid were, but still.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 12:08 PM

Barack Obama's campaign scrubbed his presidential Web site over the weekend to remove criticism of the U.S. troop "surge" in Iraq, the Daily News has learned.

The presumed Democratic nominee replaced his Iraq issue Web page, which had described the surge as a "problem" that had barely reduced violence.

Don't worry, people. It's all good.

The New edition of English Socialism will soon be published and made official. Just hold your horses people.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 12:23 PM

ICBS's comments remind me of e-mails I see at work, only enough specifics to lure someone into giving answers for an issue, then using those answers out of context or for a different issue all together to further there own point.

Bingo. It's hard to argue with generalities, isn't it?

Interestingly, I chose a link from ICBS's page o' links. Like you, I found that it utterly contradicts this statement:

I am indifferent (for purposes of THIS discussion only) to the fact that Democrats also jumped on the bandwagon to rush to exact revenge on Saddam Hussein for 9/11 - the [f]act is that SH had nothing to do wtih 9/11.

Here's an excerpt:

But didn’t administration officials go further, saying Iraq had operational ties to al
Qaeda, would give terrorism weapons of mass destruction to use against the United
States, and imply that Saddam Hussein was linked to the attacks on September 11?


No. The administration consistently spoke about contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda,
possible weapons training by Iraqis of al Qaeda members, Iraq’s history of involvement
with terrorists and terrorist organizations, and the fact that some al Qaeda personnel had
found refuge in Iraq after their expulsion from Afghanistan. It never claimed that Iraq
had operational ties to al Qaeda.

Nor did the administration say that Iraq had specific plans to give weapons of mass
destruction to al Qaeda. What the administration argued was that given Iraq’s ties to
terrorism in the past, its contacts with al Qaeda, and Saddam’s and bin Laden’s mutual
interest in harming the United States and its allies in the region, this was a possibility that
had to be taken seriously.

Hilarious. Earlier in the chapter:

Don’t the reports released since the end of the Iraq war show that there were no ties
between Saddam’s Iraq and bin Laden’s al Qaeda?

[Note: this is something else ICBS has frequently asserted without feeling the necessity of anything so mundane as evidence]

No. Although U.S. intelligence has no evidence to confirm direct operational collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda, both the report of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Intelligence and the report of the 9-11 Commission have cited repeated contacts between them throughout the 1990s. According to the 9-11 Commission report, bin Laden initially took the lead in exploring possible cooperation with Iraq. By the late
1990s, the Commission found “the situation reversed,” with Iraq taking the initiative in
the relationship.

In March 1998, after bin Laden’s public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda
members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. In July, an Iraqi
delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then bin Ladin.
Sources reported that one, perhaps both, of these meetings was apparently arranged
through bin Laden’s Egyptian deputy, Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis.

According to the commission, follow-up meetings might well have occurred the next
year, leading to an offer from Baghdad to provide bin Laden with a safe haven in Iraq.
Intelligence reports “describe friendly contacts,” with relations grounded in “both sides
hatred of the United States.

*********************

I have cited all of this information in past posts, so I'm quite familiar with it.

It also undercuts ICBS's claims.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 25, 2010 12:38 PM

So should ICBS modify the moniker to I Concatenate BS?

Posted by: bthun at May 25, 2010 12:48 PM

I Contain would be a shorter moniker.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 03:57 PM

I repeat - I Call Bull Sh**

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I do not believe and have never seen any evidence to confirm that [Hussein] was involved in 9/11. We had that reporting for a while, [but] eventually it turned out not to be true," Cheney conceded. http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/06/01/cheney.speech/

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In his prime-time press conference last week, which focused almost solely on Iraq, President Bush mentioned Sept. 11 eight times. He referred to Saddam Hussein many more times than that, often in the same breath with Sept. 11.

Bush never pinned blame for the attacks directly on the Iraqi president. Still, the overall effect was to reinforce an impression that persists among much of the American public: that the Iraqi dictator did play a direct role in the attacks. A New York Times/CBS poll this week shows that 45 percent of Americans believe Mr. Hussein was "personally involved" in Sept. 11, about the same figure as a month ago.

Sources knowledgeable about US intelligence say there is no evidence that Hussein played a role in the Sept. 11 attacks, nor that he has been or is currently aiding Al Qaeda. Yet the White House appears to be encouraging this false impression, as it seeks to maintain American support for a possible war against Iraq and demonstrate seriousness of purpose to Hussein's regime.

"The administration has succeeded in creating a sense that there is some connection [between Sept. 11 and Saddam Hussein]," says Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland.

* * *

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden himself recently encouraged the perception of a link, when he encouraged attacks on the US in response to a US war against Iraq. But, terror experts note, common animosity toward the United States does not make Hussein and Mr. bin Laden allies.

Hussein, a secularist, and bin Laden, a Muslim fundamentalist, are known to despise each other. Bin Laden's stated sympathies are always toward the Iraqi people, not the regime.

* * *

In the end, will it matter if some Americans have meshed together Sept. 11 and Iraq? If the US and its allies go to war against Iraq, and it goes well, then the Bush administration is likely not to face questions about the way it sold the war. But if war and its aftermath go badly, then the administration could be under fire.

"Going to war with improper public understanding is risky," says Richard Parker, a former US ambassador to several Mideast countries. "If it's a failure, and we get bogged down, this is one of the accusations that [Bush] will have to face when it's all over."

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0314/p02s01-woiq.html

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Cheney blasts media on al Qaeda-Iraq link
Says media not 'doing their homework' in reporting ties
Friday, June 18, 2004 Posted: 2:25 AM EDT (0625 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday the evidence is "overwhelming" that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, and he said media reports suggesting that the 9/11 commission has reached a contradictory conclusion were "irresponsible."

"There clearly was a relationship. It's been testified to. The evidence is overwhelming," Cheney said in an interview with CNBC's "Capitol Report."

"It goes back to the early '90s. It involves a whole series of contacts, high-level contacts with Osama bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence officials."

"The press, with all due respect, (is) often times lazy, often times simply reports what somebody else in the press said without doing their homework."

Members of 9/11 commission found "no credible evidence" that Iraq was involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks carried out by al Qaeda hijackers, and they concluded that there was "no collaborative relationship" between Iraq and Osama bin Laden, the network's leader, according to details of its findings disclosed Wednesday at a public hearing.

However, the commission also found that bin Laden did "explore possible cooperation with Iraq."

Cheney told CNBC that cooperation included a brigadier general in the Iraqi intelligence service going to Sudan, where bin Laden was based prior to moving his operations to Afghanistan, to train al Qaeda members in bomb-making and document forgery.

Both Cheney and President Bush are strongly disputing suggestions that the commission's conclusion that there were no Iraqi fingerprints on the 9/11 attacks contradicts statements they made in the run-up to the Iraq war about links between Iraq and al Qaeda.

Bush, who has said himself that there is no evidence Iraq was involved in 9/11, sought to explain the distinction Thursday, saying that while the administration never "said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated" with Iraqi help, "we did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda."

"The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda [is] because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda," the president said. (Full story http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/06/17/Bush.alqaeda/index.html)

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In his CNBC interview, Cheney went a bit further. Asked if Iraq was involved in 9/11, he said, "We don't know."

"What the commission says is they can't find evidence of that," he said. "We had one report, which is a famous report on the Czech intelligence service, and we've never been able to confirm or to knock it down."

The uncorroborated Czech report, which has been widely disputed, alleged that 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague before the attacks.

Asked if he knows information that the 9/11 commission does not know, Cheney replied, "Probably."

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/06/18/cheney.iraq.al.qaeda/

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Cheney Lectures Russert on Iraq-9/11 Link
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/982713/posts

***

Addressing the Saban Forum on December 5, President George W. Bush stated: "It is true, as I've said many times, that Saddam Hussein was not connected to the 9/11 attacks."

Really? Well, Bush has acknowledged in the past that Saddam Hussein did not attack us on 9/11. For example, in response to a question on September 17, 2003, Bush stated: "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th [attacks]."

But how frequently did Bush make this acknowledgement? Not often, at least not publlcly. Instead, he repeatedly (and much more memorably) juxtaposed references to the 9/11 terror attacks to those of Saddam Hussein, thereby helping to create the false impression that Saddam Hussein was connected to 9/11.

For instance, on January 31, 2003, President Bush stated: "The strategic view of America changed after September the 11th. We must deal with threats before they hurt the American people again. And as I have said repeatedly, Saddam Hussein would like nothing more than to use a terrorist network to attack and to kill and leave no fingerprints behind."

And on March 6, 2003, he stated: "If the world fails to confront the threat posed by the Iraqi regime, refusing to use force, even as a last resort, free nations would assume immense and unacceptable risks. The attacks of September the 11th, 2001 showed what the enemies of America did with four airplanes. We will not wait to see what terrorists or terrorist states could do with weapons of mass destruction."

Statements of this type, repeated over and over again by Bush and by others in his administration, helped to plant the idea in the public mind that there was indeed a Saddam-9/11 link without the administration explicitly saying that this link existed.

Monday, 08 December 2008 14:53

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/581

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Case Closed
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/378fmxyz.asp

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The 9/11 Connection
What Salman Pak could reveal.
National Review Online, April 3, 2003 2:40 P.M.
http://article.nationalreview.com/268429/the-911-connection/deroy-murdock
Not far from Baghdad, Coalition forces may uncover evidence linking Saddam Hussein's regime with airline hijackings in general and the September 11 attacks in particular.

***

"I believe it is definitely more likely than not that some degree of common effort in the sense of aiding or abetting or conspiracy was involved here between Iraq and the al Qaeda," Woolsey said on March 3. President Clinton's CIA chief from 1993 to 1995 added: "Even if one cannot show that...any of the individual 19 hijackers were trained at Salman Pak, the nature of the training and the circumstances suggest, to my mind, at least, some kind of common aiding, abetting, assistance, cooperation — whatever word you might want to take."

***

Some have dismissed the notion that supposedly secular Saddam Hussein would conspire with Muslim extremists like Osama bin Laden and the men of al Qaeda. Woolsey and Mylroie note that Hussein sometimes embraces Islam for political purposes. The Iraqi flag, for instance, has borne the Arabic words Allahu akbar ("God is great") since 1991, the year Hussein lost Gulf War I. Terrorists often invoke this Islamic incantation before blowing themselves apart. Whatever their differences on Heaven, Hussein and bin Laden share a common foe on Earth: America.

Said Woolsey, "I've used the analogy a number of times about the Iraqi government and al Qaeda as being like two Mafia families who hate each other, kill each other's members from time to time, insult one another, but are still capable of cooperating against what they consider to be a greater enemy — namely, us."

Are these apparent ties tough to prove? You bet. Iraq's work with homicidal zealots does not resemble a municipal bond deal, with contracts registered at City Hall. As Woolsey noted, "This is putting together pieces of a puzzle in which quite likely both parties are doing everything they can to keep these pieces from being fitted together."

So why has the Bush administration not highlighted these ominous connections? One theory is that showcasing pre-9/11 evidence of Salman Pak might make people wonder why nothing was done about it before the atrocity. Another view is that federal officials who implemented President Clinton's light touch towards Iraq are in no hurry to remind Americans of how foolish their policy was.

In either case, we soon may know much more about Salman Pak — assuming it has not been thoroughly sanitized. Baghdad's liberation should snap open government file cabinets and loosen captured officials' tongues. Before long, they may reveal the extent of Saddam Hussein's complicity in the September 11 massacre.

— Mr. Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service.

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Published on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 by the Associated Press
9/11 Commission: No Link Between Al-Qaida and Saddam
by Hope Yen

WASHINGTON - Bluntly contradicting the Bush administration, the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks reported Wednesday there was ``no credible evidence'' that Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaida target the United States.

In a chilling report that sketched the history of Osama bin Laden's network, the commission said his far-flung training camps were ``apparently quite good.'' Terrorists-to-be were encouraged to ``think creatively about ways to commit mass murder,'' it added.

Bin Laden made overtures to Saddam for assistance, the commission said in the staff report, as he did with leaders in Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere as he sought to build an Islamic army.


Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorists Attacks Upon the United States (9-11 Commission) Gov. Thomas Kean looks on at the beginning of their final two-day hearing at the National Transportation Security Board conference center in Washington, June 16, 2004. The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks began its final hearings on Wednesday before delivering its findings at the end of next month. REUTERS/Larry Downing

While Saddam dispatched a senior Iraqi intelligence official to Sudan to meet with bin Laden in 1994, the commission said it had not turned up evidence of a ``collaborative relationship.''

The Bush administration has long claimed links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida, and cited them as one reason for last year's invasion of Iraq.

On Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney said in a speech that the Iraqi dictator ``had long established ties with al-Qaida.''

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0616-01.htm

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ADMINISTRATION
Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel
By Murray Waas, special to National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
http://www.nationaljournal.com/about/njweekly/stories/2005/1122nj1.htm

Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005

Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

The administration has refused to provide the Sept. 21 President's Daily Brief, even on a classified basis, and won't say anything more about it other than to acknowledge that it exists.


The information was provided to Bush on September 21, 2001 during the "President's Daily Brief," a 30- to 45-minute early-morning national security briefing. Information for PDBs has routinely been derived from electronic intercepts, human agents, and reports from foreign intelligence services, as well as more mundane sources such as news reports and public statements by foreign leaders.

One of the more intriguing things that Bush was told during the briefing was that the few credible reports of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda involved attempts by Saddam Hussein to monitor the terrorist group. Saddam viewed Al Qaeda as well as other theocratic radical Islamist organizations as a potential threat to his secular regime. At one point, analysts believed, Saddam considered infiltrating the ranks of Al Qaeda with Iraqi nationals or even Iraqi intelligence operatives to learn more about its inner workings, according to records and sources.

The September 21, 2001, briefing was prepared at the request of the president, who was eager in the days following the terrorist attacks to learn all that he could about any possible connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

Much of the contents of the September 21 PDB were later incorporated, albeit in a slightly different form, into a lengthier CIA analysis examining not only Al Qaeda's contacts with Iraq, but also Iraq's support for international terrorism. Although the CIA found scant evidence of collaboration between Iraq and Al Qaeda, the agency reported that it had long since established that Iraq had previously supported the notorious Abu Nidal terrorist organization, and had provided tens of millions of dollars and logistical support to Palestinian groups, including payments to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

The highly classified CIA assessment was distributed to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the president's national security adviser and deputy national security adviser, the secretaries and undersecretaries of State and Defense, and various other senior Bush administration policy makers, according to government records.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the White House for the CIA assessment, the PDB of September 21, 2001, and dozens of other PDBs as part of the committee's ongoing investigation into whether the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence information in the run-up to war with Iraq. The Bush administration has refused to turn over these documents.

Indeed, the existence of the September 21 PDB was not disclosed to the Intelligence Committee until the summer of 2004, according to congressional sources. Both Republicans and Democrats requested then that it be turned over. The administration has refused to provide it, even on a classified basis, and won't say anything more about it other than to acknowledge that it exists.

On November 18, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said he planned to attach an amendment to the fiscal 2006 intelligence authorization bill that would require the Bush administration to give the Senate and House intelligence committees copies of PDBs for a three-year period. After Democrats and Republicans were unable to agree on language for the amendment, Kennedy said he would delay final action on the matter until Congress returns in December.

The conclusions drawn in the lengthier CIA assessment-which has also been denied to the committee-were strikingly similar to those provided to President Bush in the September 21 PDB, according to records and sources. In the four years since Bush received the briefing, according to highly placed government officials, little evidence has come to light to contradict the CIA's original conclusion that no collaborative relationship existed between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

"What the President was told on September 21," said one former high-level official, "was consistent with everything he has been told since-that the evidence was just not there."

In arguing their case for war with Iraq, the president and vice president said after the September 11 attacks that Al Qaeda and Iraq had significant ties, and they cited the possibility that Iraq might share chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons with Al Qaeda for a terrorist attack against the United States.

Democrats in Congress, as well as other critics of the Bush administration, charge that Bush and Cheney misrepresented and distorted intelligence information to bolster their case for war with Iraq. The president and vice president have insisted that they unknowingly relied on faulty and erroneous intelligence, provided mostly by the CIA.

The new information on the September 21 PDB and the subsequent CIA analysis bears on the question of what the CIA told the president and how the administration used that information as it made its case for war with Iraq.

The central rationale for going to war against Iraq, of course, was that Saddam Hussein had biological and chemical weapons, and that he was pursuing an aggressive program to build nuclear weapons. Despite those claims, no weapons were ever discovered after the war, either by United Nations inspectors or by U.S. military authorities.

Much of the blame for the incorrect information in statements made by the president and other senior administration officials regarding the weapons-of-mass-destruction issue has fallen on the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies.

In April 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded in a bipartisan report that the CIA's prewar assertion that Saddam's regime was "reconstituting its nuclear weapons program" and "has chemical and biological weapons" were "overstated, or were not supported by the underlying intelligence provided to the Committee."

The Bush administration has cited that report and similar findings by a presidential commission as evidence of massive CIA intelligence failures in assessing Iraq's unconventional-weapons capability.

Bush and Cheney have also recently answered their critics by ascribing partisan motivations to them and saying their criticism has the effect of undermining the war effort. In a speech on November 11, the president made his strongest comments to date on the subject: "Baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will." Since then, he has adopted a different tone, and he said on his way home from Asia on November 21, "This is not an issue of who is a patriot or not."

In his own speech to the American Enterprise Institute yesterday, Cheney also changed tone, saying that "disagreement, argument, and debate are the essence of democracy" and the "sign of a healthy political system." He then added: "Any suggestion that prewar information was distorted, hyped, or fabricated by the leader of the nation is utterly false."

Although the Senate Intelligence Committee and the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, commonly known as the 9/11 commission, pointed to incorrect CIA assessments on the WMD issue, they both also said that, for the most part, the CIA and other agencies did indeed provide policy makers with accurate information regarding the lack of evidence of ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq.

But a comparison of public statements by the president, the vice president, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld show that in the days just before a congressional vote authorizing war, they professed to have been given information from U.S. intelligence assessments showing evidence of an Iraq-Al Qaeda link.

"You can't distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror," President Bush said on September 25, 2002.

The next day, Rumsfeld said, "We have what we consider to be credible evidence that Al Qaeda leaders have sought contacts with Iraq who could help them acquire … weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities."

The most explosive of allegations came from Cheney, who said that September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta, the pilot of the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center, had met in Prague, in the Czech Republic, with a senior Iraqi intelligence agent, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, five months before the attacks. On December 9, 2001, Cheney said on NBC's Meet the Press: "[I]t's pretty well confirmed that [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in [the Czech Republic] last April, several months before the attack."

Cheney continued to make the charge, even after he was briefed, according to government records and officials, that both the CIA and the FBI discounted the possibility of such a meeting.

Credit card and phone records appear to demonstrate that Atta was in Virginia Beach, Va., at the time of the alleged meeting, according to law enforcement and intelligence officials. Al-Ani, the Iraqi intelligence official with whom Atta was said to have met in Prague, was later taken into custody by U.S. authorities. He not only denied the report of the meeting with Atta, but said that he was not in Prague at the time of the supposed meeting, according to published reports.

In June 2004, the 9/11 commission concluded: "There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior bin Laden associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between Al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and Al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."

Regarding the alleged meeting in Prague, the commission concluded: "We do not believe that such a meeting occurred."

Still, Cheney did not concede the point. "We have never been able to prove that there was a connection to 9/11," Cheney said after the commission announced it could not find significant links between Al Qaeda and Iraq. But the vice president again pointed out the existence of a Czech intelligence service report that Atta and the Iraqi agent had met in Prague. "That's never been proved. But it's never been disproved," Cheney said.

The following month, July 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded in its review of the CIA's prewar intelligence: "Despite four decades of intelligence reporting on Iraq, there was little useful intelligence collected that helped analysts determine the Iraqi regime's possible links to al-Qaeda."

One reason that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld made statements that contradicted what they were told in CIA briefings might have been that they were receiving information from another source that purported to have evidence of Al Qaeda-Iraq ties. The information came from a covert intelligence unit set up shortly after the September 11 attacks by then-Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith.

Feith was a protégé of, and intensely loyal to, Cheney, Rumsfeld, then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, and Cheney's then-chief of staff and national security adviser, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby. The secretive unit was set up because Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Libby did not believe the CIA would be able to get to the bottom of the matter of Iraq-Al Qaeda ties. The four men shared a long-standing distrust of the CIA from their earlier positions in government, and felt that the agency had failed massively by not predicting the September 11 attacks.

At first, the Feith-directed unit primarily consisted of two men, former journalist Michael Maloof and David Wurmser, a veteran of neoconservative think tanks. They liked to refer to themselves as the "Iraqi intelligence cell" of the Pentagon. And they took pride in the fact that their office was in an out-of-the-way cipher-locked room, with "charts that rung the room from one end to the other" showing the "interconnections of various terrorist groups" with one another and, most important, with Iraq, Maloof recalled in an interview.

They also had the heady experience of briefing Rumsfeld twice, and Feith more frequently, Maloof said. The vice president's office also showed great interest in their work. On at least three occasions, Maloof said, Samantha Ravich, then-national security adviser for terrorism to Cheney, visited their windowless offices for a briefing.

But neither Maloof nor Wurmser had any experience or formal training in intelligence analysis. Maloof later lost his security clearance, for allegedly failing to disclose a relationship with a woman who is a foreigner, and after allegations that he leaked classified information to the press. Maloof said in the interview that he has done nothing wrong and was simply being punished for his controversial theories. Wurmser has since been named as Cheney's Middle East adviser.

In January 2002, Maloof and Wurmser were succeeded at the intelligence unit by two Naval Reserve officers. Intelligence analysis from the covert unit later served as the basis for many of the erroneous public statements made by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others regarding the alleged ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda, according to former and current government officials. Intense debates still rage among longtime intelligence and foreign policy professionals as to whether those who cited the information believed it, or used it as propaganda. The unit has since been disbanded.

Earlier this month, on November 14, the Pentagon's inspector general announced an investigation into whether Feith and others associated with the covert intelligence unit engaged in "unauthorized, unlawful, or inappropriate intelligence activities." In a statement, Feith said he is "confident" that investigators will conclude that his "office worked properly and in fact improved the intelligence product by asking good questions."

The Senate Intelligence Committee has also been conducting its own probe of the Pentagon unit. But as was first disclosed by The American Prospect in an article by reporter Laura Rozen, that probe had been hampered by a lack of cooperation from Feith and the Pentagon.

Internal Pentagon records show not only that the small Pentagon unit had the ear of the highest officials in the government, but also that Rumsfeld and others considered the unit as a virtual alternative to intelligence analyses provided by the CIA.

On July 22, 2002, as the run-up to war with Iraq was underway, one of the Naval Reserve officers detailed to the unit sent Feith an e-mail saying that he had just heard that then-Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz wanted "the Iraqi intelligence cell … to prepare an intel briefing on Iraq and links to al-Qaida for the SecDef" and that he was not to tell anyone about it.

After that briefing was delivered, Wolfowitz sent Feith and other officials a note saying: "This was an excellent briefing. The Secretary was very impressed. He asked us to think about possible next steps to see if we can illuminate the differences between us and CIA. The goal was not to produce a consensus product, but rather to scrub one another's arguments."

On September 16, 2002, two days before the CIA produced a major assessment of Iraq's ties to terrorism, the Naval Reserve officers conducted a briefing for Libby and Stephen J. Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser to President Bush.

In a memorandum to Wolfowitz, Feith wrote: "The briefing went very well and generated further interest from Mr. Hadley and Mr. Libby." Both men, the memo went on, requested follow-up material, most notably a "chronology of Atta's travels," a reference to the discredited allegation of an Atta-Iraqi meeting in Prague.

In their presentation, the naval reserve briefers excluded the fact that the FBI and CIA had developed evidence that the alleged meeting had never taken place, and that even the Czechs had disavowed it.

The Pentagon unit also routinely second-guessed the CIA's highly classified assessments. Regarding one report titled "Iraq and al-Qaeda: Interpreting a Murky Relationship," one of the Naval Reserve officers wrote: "The report provides evidence from numerous intelligence sources over the course of a decade on interactions between Iraq and al-Qaida. In this regard, the report is excellent. Then in its interpretation of this information, CIA attempts to discredit, dismiss, or downgrade much of this reporting, resulting in inconsistent conclusions in many instances. Therefore, the CIA report should be read for content only-and CIA's interpretation ought to be ignored."

This same antipathy toward the CIA led to the events that are the basis of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of the leak of CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity, according to several former and current senior officials.

Ironically, the Plame affair's origins had its roots in Cheney and Libby's interest in reports that Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase uranium yellowcake from Niger to build a nuclear weapon. After reading a Pentagon report on the matter in early February 2002, Cheney asked the CIA officer who provided him with a national security briefing each morning if he could find out about it.

Without Cheney's knowledge, his query led to the CIA-sanctioned trip to Niger by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Plame's husband, to investigate the allegations. Wilson reported back to the CIA that the allegations were most likely not true.

Despite that conclusion, President Bush, in his State of the Union address in 2003, included the Niger allegation in making the case to go to war with Iraq. In July 2003, after the war had begun, Wilson publicly charged that the Bush administration had "twisted" the intelligence information to make the case to go to war.

Libby and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove told reporters that Wilson's had been sent to Niger on the recommendation of his wife, Plame. In the process, the leaks led to the unmasking of Plame, the appointment of Fitzgerald, the jailing of a New York Times reporter for 85 days, and a federal grand jury indictment of Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly attempting to conceal his role in leaking Plame's name to the press.

The Plame affair was not so much a reflection of any personal animus toward Wilson or Plame, says one former senior administration official who knows most of the principals involved, but rather the direct result of long-standing antipathy toward the CIA by Cheney, Libby, and others involved. They viewed Wilson's outspoken criticism of the Bush administration as an indirect attack by the spy agency.

Those grievances were also perhaps illustrated by comments that Vice President Cheney himself wrote on one of Feith's reports detailing purported evidence of links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. In barely legible handwriting, Cheney wrote in the margin of the report:

"This is very good indeed … Encouraging … Not like the crap we are all so used to getting out of CIA."

-- Murray Waas is a Washington-based writer and frequent contributor to National Journal. Several of his previous stories are also available online.

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All this (and much more which the Blog Princess apparently chooses to ignore) undercuts the Blog Princess's pretentions of certainty. But [is this insulting?] she has always been the Bush Adminsitration's Cheerleader, so we're not too surprised.

Posted by: I Call BS at May 25, 2010 08:36 PM

I have responded, and it may appear here. TBP and I can each quote from a variety of sources, and inevitably something will be left out. TBP ahs not persuaded me; I have not persuaded TBP. I at least usually try not to be insulting ...

Posted by: I Call BS at May 25, 2010 08:52 PM

I have responded, and it may appear here, if The Blog Princess deigns to post it. TBP and I can each quote from a variety of sources, and inevitably something will be left out. TBP has not persuaded me; I have not persuaded TBP. At least I usually try not to be insulting ...

Posted by: I Call BS at May 25, 2010 08:54 PM

Can that be true?

Posted by: Texan99 at May 25, 2010 09:36 PM

Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday the evidence is "overwhelming" that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, and he said media reports suggesting that the 9/11 commission has reached a contradictory conclusion were "irresponsible."

ICBS, are you now arguing against your own link?

You really are funny. Another amusing tidbit from page 70:

To support the argument that the Bush administration had overstated Iraq’s ties to al Qaeda, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s report, “WMD in Iraq” (January 2004), states that the “UN Monitoring Group on al Qaeda released a draft report in June that found no link between Iraq and the
terrorist group” (p. 44). The accompanying citation is to a BBC report, “Iraq ‘Had No Links to al-Qaeda’,” BBC News Online, June 27, 2003.

But as the Monitoring Group’s Chairman, Michael Chandler, pointed out the next day, the BBC report did not accurately represent the statements and findings of the Monitoring
Group.

How inconveeeeeeenient :p But wait! There's plenty more where this came from!

During a June 26, 2003 press conference associated with the release of the Monitoring Group’s draft report, the chairman, Michael Chandler, was asked whether or not his committee had investigated the alleged link between al Qaeda and Iraq. Mr. Chandler responded by noting he had limited resources, only
“five people on his team. Al Qaeda was a global network. There were many people dealing with Iraq. He was concentrating on what was going on in the rest of the world. So far, there was nothing to indicate a link between Iraq and al Qaeda.”

Please pay attention here, ICBS:


Precisely because BBC and other news organizations pulled the last statement out of context in their reporting, Chairman Chandler felt it necessary to issue a statement the next day in which he stated that the
Monitoring Group had not specifically addressed the issue of al Qaeda’s ties to Iraq and had “reached no conclusions concerning these matters.”

Hmmm.... a news organization falsifying the conclusions of a report? Say it isn't so!

“Given the nature and intensity of the crisis surrounding Iraq
during the reporting period, and attention being directed to such issues by the Security Council itself, an
inquiry by the Monitoring Group into such issues was considered inappropriate.” See Joseph Cirincione,
Jessica Matthews and George Perkovich, WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications, (Carnegie Endowment
for International Peace, January 2004), p. 44.

*******************

If you're going to post a link, perhaps it should actually support your arguments. Although this is fun too.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 25, 2010 10:02 PM

Thank you, your Highness ...

Posted by: I Call BS at May 25, 2010 10:04 PM

I at least usually try not to be insulting ...

I can't do much about anybody else's social skills deficiency. If it is to the point where you can't tell if you are insulting somebody or if you can't figure out how you did it, then that's one thing.

I already gave the link on boundaries from NNSD. You should know already what you should do or rather what you shouldn't do.

1. Don't use people's words to bolster your own argument as if you can easily decide how to use other people's words without their original intent.

2. Don't define for other people what they believe or their motivations.

3. Don't try to make shared space (where many decide) your personal space (where you alone decide things).

4. Don't try to make other people's personal space, where they alone control things, into shared space where things are "debated".

5. Don't confuse your personal space with shared space or other people's personal space.

If you aren't clear on somebody's position, ask for clarification rather than summarizing what you think happened.

This won't prevent everyone from perceiving an insult from you, but it removes most people from the list.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 10:10 PM

As I said: "TBP and I can each quote from a variety of sources, and inevitably something will be left out."

What I have provided, OTOH, supports my contention that the Dubya administration flogged the idea that SH and 9/11 were connected, in order to stir up support for a (knee-jerk) "revenge" attack on Iraq, when they knew that there was no credible evidence of an SH-9/11 conection. And I have yet to see anybody credibly refute the statement that Dubya's closest advisers (Cheney and Rumsfeld, among others) had been champing at the bit for years to attack Iraq, as the Program for the New American Century had been advocating for years.

Posted by: I Call BS at May 25, 2010 10:11 PM

As for being unable to use logic, again not something I can do much about.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 10:11 PM

ICBS, are you now arguing against your own link?

Of course not - I am showing a sample of the contemporaneous media reports. Please pay attention here, TBP.

Posted by: I Call BS at May 25, 2010 10:15 PM

But [is this insulting?] she has always been the Bush Adminsitration's Cheerleader, so we're not too surprised.

Yes. It defines her motivations and life goals based upon an absolute time frame, "always", when you have not "always" been in a position to adequately observe her thoughts and motivations.

This is known as talking out your arse.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 10:15 PM

Please pay attention here, TBP.

Parroting words somebody else said to benefit yourself. Not sincere.

Please pay attention here, ICBS:-Cassandra

Sincerity comes from the heart. Repeating what other people tell you as part of their argument, in order to bolster your argument, just makes you look like you're pretending.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 10:17 PM

I can't do much ... As for being unable to use logic, again not something I can do much about.

Ymarsaker speaks for himself.

Posted by: I Call BS at May 25, 2010 10:17 PM

What I have provided, OTOH, supports my contention that the Dubya administration flogged the idea that SH and 9/11 were connected

The articles never claimed that they knew what was motivating the administration, only that the administration by calling attention to both 9/11 and Iraq created an association in the minds of the people.

Given Bush's total lack of preparation in conducting psychological warfare concerning WMDs after 2004, the idea that Bush was intentionally creating a subtle association here is pretty preposterous.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 10:21 PM

Ymarsaker speaks for himself.

I was speaking of you, actually. But thanks for asking about other people. Keep on doing the 9 step program to becoming a social pariah. By the time you realized you should have listened to me, it will be too late to tell me I didn't warn you.

And yes, keep telling yourself that "you don't try to be insulting". You don't really think people like me aren't constantly testing people like you on these issues, eh.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 10:24 PM

Isn't it past your bedtime, Ymarsakar?

Posted by: I Call BS at May 25, 2010 10:24 PM

What I have provided, OTOH, supports my contention that the Dubya administration flogged the idea that SH and 9/11 were connected, in order to stir up support for a (knee-jerk) "revenge" attack on Iraq, when they knew that there was no credible evidence of an SH-9/11 conection.

No, it does not.

I just read it all. And it says - repeatedly - exactly what your link (that I quoted extensively earlier) said - that Bush said - repeatedly - that he had no evidence that Saddam was directly involved in the 9/11 attack, but that there was plentiful evidence of a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

This is a conclusion the 9/11 Commission (which you cited previously without linking) also reached. Unlike you, I'll provide the locations and the conclusions... from your own link!

The 9-11 Commission Report, p. 66. A key conduit between Iraq and al Qaeda appears to have been the Egyptian Ayman al Zawahiri. “According to a May 2003 debriefing of a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, Iraqi intelligence established a highly secretive relationship with Egyptian Islamic Jihad (headed by Zawahiri), and later with al Qaeda….The report claimed that Saddam insisted the relationship with al Qaeda be kept secret. After 9-11, the source said Saddam made a personnel change in the IIS for fear the relationship would come under scrutiny from foreign probes.” Stephen F. Hayes, “Case Closed: The U.S. government’s secret memo detailing cooperation between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden,” Weekly Standard, November 24, 2003. The same source apparently stated that Iraq had provided Zawahiri with $300,000 in support of his operations. See Hayes, “Cheney Speaks: Vice President Cheney on the Iraq-al Qaeda connection,” Weekly Standard, June 24, 2004 and Bruce B. Auster, Mark Mazzetti, Edward T. Pound, “Truth and Consequences: New Questions about U.S. intelligence regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass terror,” U.S. News & World Report, June 9, 2003. 241 The 9-11 Commission Report, p. 66. In addition, intelligence reports of “varying reliability” also pointed to Iraq providing al Qaeda with various kinds of training during this period. As Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet testified in a closed session before the Senate Intelligence Committee in September 2002: “Although Saddam did not endorse al Qaeda’s overall agenda and was suspicious of Islamist movements in general, he was apparently not averse, under certain circumstances, to enhancing bin Laden’s operational capabilities.” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Report on U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, (July 7, 2004), p. 329. Moreover, as the 9-11 Commission notes, the judgment that there was a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda was not new.

The Clinton Administration’s Justice Department included the Iraq-al Qaeda connection in its spring 1998 indictment of Osama bin Laden. The indictment states: “Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects,
specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of
Iraq” (p. 128). The Commission goes on to note “this language about al Qaeda’s ‘understanding’ with Iraq
had been dropped, however, when a superseding indictment was filed in November 1998.” In testimony
before the commission, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, a U.S. attorney who prosecuted many of the terrorism cases
related to al Qaeda, stated that the language was dropped when the indictment was broadened in the fall of
that year. The indictment was re-drafted in the wake of the August 7, 1998 car bombings of the U.S.
embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, giving prosecutors more specific crimes with which to charge bin
Laden.) “Transcript: 9-11 Commission Hearings for June 16, 2004,”
http://ctstudies.com/Document/911_Commission_June_16_2004_Testimony.html.
242 The 9-11 Commission Report, p.61. Although not conclusive, Kurdish-captured Iraqis, who claimed to
have been Iraqi intelligence officers, have provided information on the clandestine ties between Saddam
Hussein and Ansar al Islam. See Jonathan Schanzer, “Saddam’s Ambassador to al Qaeda: An Iraqi
prisoner details Saddam’s links to Osama bin Laden’s terror network,” Weekly Standard, March 1, 2004.
In addition, Stephen F. Hayes has written that “A communications intercept included in a May 2002 report
from the National Security Agency” indicates Iraqi intelligence providing financial support to the terrorist
group. Hayes, “Cheney Speaks: Vice President Cheney on the Iraq-al Qaeda connection,” Weekly
Standard, June 24, 2004.
243 Report on U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, p. 324. Among
those “others” it appears was bin Laden’s deputy, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri who, according to the
report of the 9-11 Commission, “had ties of his own to the Iraqis.” (p. 66).

244 Tommy Franks and Malcolm McConnell, American Soldier (ReganBooks, 2004), p. 332.
245 Report on U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, pp. 337-38.
Although DCI George Tenet testified in February 2003 that the CIA was unable to confirm whether or not
Zarqawi’s network—a network responsible for the assassination of a U.S. State Department employee in
Jordan and poison plots in Europe—was under the specific sponsorship or control of the Iraqis, he was
confident that Iraq had provided him with safe haven. Testimony before Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence, February 11, 2003.

More recently, Jonathan Schanzer, a terrorism analyst for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has written—based on an interview with a captured Iraqi intelligence
officer—that “Zarqawi…was al Qaeda’s link to Iraq in the same way that Abu Wael,” the captured
intelligence officer’s boss, “was the Iraqi link to al Qaeda.” “Saddam’s Ambassador to al Qaeda,” Weekly
Standard, March 1, 2004.

****

Next time, you might want to read your own links, ICBS. They don't say what you seem to think they say.

http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraq-042005.pdf

Posted by: Cassandra at May 25, 2010 10:25 PM

Blog Princess's pretentions of certainty.

Insult number #9000. "Pretentious" is a personal insult when used to blast away your opponent's certainty of knowledge.

You may think you have an adequate grasp on your hostility and are "fooling" peeps here, but I got to tell you, your cloak device is off a bit.

It leaks through pretty visibly.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 10:27 PM

Next time, you might want to read your own links, ICBS. They don't say what you seem to think they say.

He's getting tired. He needs a good night's rest. He'll be up and chipper in the morning, so don't worry.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 25, 2010 10:30 PM

Of course not - I am showing a sample of the contemporaneous media reports. Please pay attention here, TBP.

First of all, "contemporaneous media reports" are not original sources.

The "contemporaneous media" have misreported and mischaracterized primary sources time and again. I have explained - several times - that linking to someone's opinion is not evidence.

And yet, rather than link to the 9/11 Commission Report (which you have several times now mischaracterized), you link to what someone said about the 9/11 Commission Report.

Instead of linking to testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, for instance, you link to an op-ed that mentions - with no link and no page number that testimony.

This is not evidence. You are citing a 3rd party's characterization of evidence as though that were the same thing. I am sorry if you cannot understand the difference but the fact is that only now - after I have challenged you repeatedly to produce something to support your repeated mischaracterizations, have you produced ANYTHING AT ALL.

And that "anything" is - of course! - impossible to verify.

I am done arguing with you, ICBS. You linked to a whole laundry list of links on that New American Whatever site and I picked one likely looking link.

It took me all of 2 minutes to find ample material that directly undercuts your assertions. I realize you choose to believe what you read in the news without bothering to check the sources (which are freely available on the Net). It's no wonder you think what you think.

Unlike you, I have taken the time to do just that - go read the actual reports and testimony. I have written about them for years in great detail and always with ample supporting links. My readers were not asked to "trust" me - I provided links so they could read for themselves.

Pasting in a whole lot of articles that don't even support your argument because they (like you) provide no evidence to back up their opinions is not persuasive. It's even less persuasive when your own pasted material agrees with the link you provided before (which also directly contradicted your assertions).

Posted by: Cassandra at May 25, 2010 11:01 PM

I said "the Dubya administration", not just GWB. You can't own the Dubya administration and Operation Iraqi Liberation without owning Cheney and Rumsfeld too.

Posted by: I Call BS at May 26, 2010 01:25 AM

"... I just stopped by for my fair share of abuse ..."

Posted by: I Call BS at May 26, 2010 01:34 AM

Fair enough Bill, but it needs to last at least as long as it took to achieve it. I'll admit I'm rather pessimistic on the matter.

There's a lot of growing pain -- but read up a bit on what the baby United States was going through during a comparable time frame. During the six years from the signing of the articles of peace between the US and Britain, we ditched the Articles of Confederation as unworkable and wrote and adopted the Constitution. Iraq has a constitution, has held a general election under its provisions, and political parties are sorting themselves out.

Iraq's biggest problem is actually an economic one -- it's still a cash-and-carry system, and banking is still pretty much a tribal operation. This gets awkward when you're buying helicopters abroad at eight million dollars per...

Posted by: BillT at May 26, 2010 02:51 AM

Obama's appearance at West Point was merely a subterfuge to gain some CINC-cred, knowing that he was going to push DADT repeal the next day. He didn't have the guts to bring it up there.

Posted by: Noel at May 28, 2010 10:50 AM

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