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February 03, 2006

The Missing WMDs

If the #2 guy in Saddam's air force had information about WMDs in Iraq, would you believe him?

Even if he didn't say what you wanted him to?

The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein's air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed.

The Iraqi general, Georges Sada, makes the charges in a new book, "Saddam's Secrets," released this week. He detailed the transfers in an interview yesterday with The New York Sun.

"There are weapons of mass destruction gone out from Iraq to Syria, and they must be found and returned to safe hands," Mr. Sada said. "I am confident they were taken over."

But don't you think we would have noticed that; a bunch of trucks or planes heading to Syria for no good reason? Mr. Sada tells us what Saddam was doing while the UN fiddled.

Mr. Sada, 65, told the Sun that the pilots of the two airliners that transported the weapons of mass destruction to Syria from Iraq approached him in the middle of 2004, after Saddam was captured by American troops.

"I know them very well. They are very good friends of mine. We trust each other. We are friends as pilots," Mr. Sada said of the two pilots. He declined to disclose their names, saying they are concerned for their safety. But he said they are now employed by other airlines outside Iraq.

The pilots told Mr. Sada that two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, Mr. Sada said. Then Special Republican Guard brigades loaded materials onto the planes, he said, including "yellow barrels with skull and crossbones on each barrel." The pilots said there was also a ground convoy of trucks.

The flights - 56 in total, Mr. Sada said - attracted little notice because they were thought to be civilian flights providing relief from Iraq to Syria, which had suffered a flood after a dam collapse in June of 2002.

"Saddam realized, this time, the Americans are coming," Mr. Sada said. "They handed over the weapons of mass destruction to the Syrians."

But can we believe this guy?
In his visit to the Sun yesterday, Mr. Sada was accompanied by Terry Law, the president of a Tulsa, Oklahoma based Christian humanitarian organization called World Compassion. Mr. Law said he has known Mr. Sada since 2002, lived in his house in Iraq and had Mr. Sada as a guest in his home in America. "Do I believe this man? Yes," Mr. Law said. "It's been solid down the line and everything checked out."

Said Mr. Law, "This is not a publicity hound. This is a man who wants peace putting his family on the line."

Mr. Sada acknowledged that the disclosures about transfers of weapons of mass destruction are "a very delicate issue." He said he was afraid for his family. "I am sure the terrorists will not like it. The Saddamists will not like it," he said.

They won't be the only ones who won't like it. Folks won't give up their "Bush lied!" meme without a fight.

Posted by Doug at February 3, 2006 01:25 PM

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Why can't he provide us with an inventory of what was shipped out to Syria? "Yellow barrels with skulls and crossbones on them." This is not a convincing description, even assuming his story survives further investigation. Make no mistake, there's lots to investigate here.

And one thing is certain: no one is talking about nuclear weapons here, and that was the central claim of the administration to justify the war, a claim that has now been shown to be an utterly egregious and willful lie.

Posted by: s9 at February 3, 2006 07:24 PM

I'm curious for anyone who might want to answer: Why the rush to trust Team Bush? Is it because he claims to a version of conservative christianity?

I'm curious.

(For the record, I was leary of Bush from the beginning because he hired two convicted and unrepentant liars - Abrams and Poindexter - which raised red flags for me right off. Anyone who believes in lying to accomplish their desired ends I'd be loathe to trust because, even if I agreed with what he said he was trying to accomplish - how do I know he's not lying to ME?)

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 3, 2006 07:39 PM

A pastor friend of mine was upset with some congregation members and was complaining to God about them.

And the Lord said to my friend, "I live in those people just like I live in you. Why should you think it is okay to accuse them in front of Me?"

If you are a pagan, I can understand about picking on George Bush's version of Christianity. But if you are a Christian, aren't you joining the accuser of the brethern by questioning his version of Christianity?


Posted by: Larry at February 4, 2006 10:46 AM

I wish I had a tape of Bill O'Reilly talking to Michael Moore at either the RNC or DNC in 2004 in which Moore admitted that a lie believed to be true is not a lie in the eyes of the one telling it. Anther point: no one has proven to be true the second statement that there were no WMDs after all. A captured Saddam regime official told us there weren't WMDs. Now another tells us there were and where.

One last comment: Why are WMDs more important than the lives we rescued? More important than ridding a people of rape rooms, chemical pools, tongue removal, and torture? Or is the unforgivable sin that George W. Bush was behind the rescue?

Posted by: Across the Flow at February 4, 2006 12:57 PM

Larry said:
"But if you are a Christian, aren't you joining the accuser of the brethern by questioning his version of Christianity?"

In short, no.

Suppose you were a christian and there was another fella who said he was a christian, too. This fella beat his wife in public and kicked the neighborhood dogs when he got angry.

In short, he lived in an un-christlike manner.

So, following the Bible's directives, you pray for him and ask to meet with him to talk about his out-of-control violence. He refused to meet with you.

Do you say, "Well, I'm glad he says he's a Christian, He must be a jolly good fella"? OR, do you condemn his behavior and try to assist his wife and the neighborhood dogs?

Or, to offer a biblical reference: Remember that Jesus condemned the religous leaders for their hypocritical, money-grubbing, power-grabbing ways. He did so publicly and loudly. Are we to follow in His steps?

And so, I'm still curious - why does anyone give Bush the benefit of the doubt/why do you trust him?

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 4, 2006 02:10 PM

Across the flow asked:
"Why are WMDs more important than the lives we rescued?"

The WMDs are important because they are the reason Congress gave Bush permission to wage war. You can't just wage war on a country without permission from Congress.

And, of course, everyone is in favor of ending oppressive regimes. The question is how do we best do so? By whose authority and under what circumstances does one country invade another country?

This is not about Bush beyond the fact that he is the one who had pushed this illegal invasion. If it had been Clinton, the world would have been just as opposed to it. It's not because we "hate Bush" or because Bush is a Republican, so don't use those arguments, they're just a red herring.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 4, 2006 03:29 PM

"More important than ridding a people of rape rooms, chemical pools, tongue removal, and torture?"

And your proof that Iraq has been rid of its practitioners of rape and torture is what again?

Posted by: s9 at February 4, 2006 04:13 PM

Time for a history lesson: "Why We Went to War with Iraq". Text for the lesson, "Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq"


Whereas after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, Iraq entered into a United Nations sponsored cease-fire agreement pursuant to which Iraq unequivocally agreed, among other things, to eliminate its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs and the means to deliver and develop them, and to end its support for international terrorism;

This is the WMD point (other paragraphs make the same point and lay out the intelligence--not just suppositions, but what Iraq had actually done), as well as their well-known support for terrorists and terrorism (Abu Nidal, training camps, payments to families of suicide bombers), and their breaking of the terms of the cease-fire agreement in the Bush I Gulf War (should there be no consequences for that?).
Whereas Iraq persists in violating resolutions of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region, by refusing to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and by failing to return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait;

Breaking of a boatload of UN resolutions (listed elsewhere in this document).
Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people;

Again, statements of fact, not supposition.
Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its continuing hostility toward, and willingness to attack, the United States, including by attempting in 1993 to assassinate former President Bush and by firing on many thousands of occasions on United States and Coalition Armed Forces engaged in enforcing the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council;

An assassination attempt, and further breaking of UN resolutions (and attempted US military kills).
Whereas in December 1991, Congress expressed its sense that it "supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of [a number of UN resolutions including] ... United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 and "constitutes a continuing threat to the peace, security, and stability of the Persian Gulf region,"

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

This has been the policy since the Clinton administration, and the best that had been come up with by this time was the Oil-for-Palaces program. Our official policy, and part of the reason Congress authorized the use of force was to free these people from a generations-old dictatorship. A nice side benefit, dontcha' think?

And while everyone remembers the "16 words" about uranium in Niger, the State of the Union address in 2003 was actually quite a bit longer than that. It included this paragraph:

Different threats require different strategies. In Iran, we continue to see a government that represses its people, pursues weapons of mass destruction, and supports terror. We also see Iranian citizens risking intimidation and death as they speak out for liberty, human rights, and democracy. Iranians, like all people, have a right to choose their own government, and determine their own destiny - and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom.

In addition to the WMD argument, Bush also noted, in addition to all the reasons mentioned in the Congressional resolution, that the action of enforcing the UN resolutions would also give the benefit of a freely-elected government to the people of Iraq.

As alleged earlier, nukes weren't the "central" WMD noted. Bush also said in his SOTU:

The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons materials sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax - enough doses to kill several million people. He has not accounted for that material. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin - enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure. He has not accounted for that material. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard, and VX nerve agent. In such quantities, these chemical agents also could kill untold thousands. He has not accounted for these materials. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. Inspectors recently turned up 16 of them, despite Iraq's recent declaration denying their existence. Saddam Hussein has not accounted for the remaining 29,984 of these prohibited munitions. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.
And, oh yes, the IAEA believed Hussein had a nuke program as well.

Can we get past the idea that nukes were somehow the primary or only reason we went in to Iraq? If not, there's not much else to say in this matter. And if saying that Iraq did have WMDs, by the way, is an impeachable offense, I'm waiting to hear when proceedings start for the IAEA. Congress gave its authority to invade based on the many UN resolutions ignored by Hussein, because Hussein was ignoring the cease-fire he signed, because he had WMD of all flavors and colors, because he supported terrorism in a number of ways, and because he had used WMDs on his own people--people who therefore needed to be relieved of a dictator who posed danger to them and the world. There were lots of reasons this was done, and why Congress authorized it.

Please bookmark the links. The history lesson is now over. Don't leave your book behind. Class dismissed.

Posted by: Doug Payton at February 4, 2006 09:50 PM

Teacher is full of baloney.

None of those reasons listed in the preamble of the authorization act would have been enough to get the war started— those reasons alone or even all of them in aggregate weren't enough without the fear sold on the nuclear wepons prolifieration threat, which had been trumped up with lies and incompetent analysis. You know that, and so does everyone here. Stop pretending otherwise.

The President was quite simply exaggerating the hazard posed by— and the quantities of— the biological and chemical munitions that Iraqi posessed in 2003. Furthermore, these weapons are all battlefield tactical weapons, not strategic weapons of mass destruction. The Hussein regime lacked the systems necessary for delivering them into a North American theater with anything like a decent chance of a successful operation. The whinging about anthrax, VX and botulinum is just that— whinging. Give it up.

And, the invasion took place in 2003, Doug— not 1998, but 2003.

Posted by: s9 at February 5, 2006 05:20 AM

I've known Rev. Law for 37 years, and Sada since October. Sada told me the WMDs were two kinds of sarin and a third poison with a name I cannot recall.

Both men are putting their lives on the line here. They are to be admired.

Posted by: Jim at February 5, 2006 11:10 AM

Dan said: "And so, I'm still curious - why does anyone give Bush the benefit of the doubt/why do you trust him?"

This is an insightful question that needs to be answered. And this is what I came up with.

Every argument and battle has at least two sides and a person has to decide which group he is going to line up with.

So, I looked at the opposition to Bush - John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, Julian Bond, Jesse Jackson, Fidel Castro, Chavez, Osama Bin Laden, Harry Belafonte, Al Franken, Barbara Streisand, George Clooney, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, George Soros and whoever else.

And I decided that I could never agree with these people. They are for everything that I am against.

So, I trust an imperfect man named President George W. Bush rather than to be a part of the above mentioned opposition.

Maybe, I'm ignorant. Maybe, I'm naieve. Maybe, I'm stubborn. But this one thing I believe, history will prove me right.

Larry Who

Posted by: Larry at February 5, 2006 11:39 AM

Thanks for the answer, Dr. Who. But you're leaving out some of those who oppose Bush (or at least his warring nature).

There's the lately departed and already missed Coretta Scott King, there's the pope (current and former), there's Rev. Jim Wallis, Rev. Cindy Weber, Stephen Zunes, Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Matthew Rothschild and of course, I could go on and on. I could mention the organizations such as the World Council of Churches, the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church (Bush's own denomination) and I could go on.

As I understand it, you support Bush because of who oppose him. Which I guess you mean you disagree with the WCC, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church and, well, pretty much every major denomination except for Southern Baptists.

Still, thanks for the answer. It makes me wonder, is that a good reason to support someone and believe them? I mean, Osama bin Laden was opposed to Clinton, does that mean you supported Clinton?

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 5, 2006 03:48 PM

How could you include dictator supporting Noam Chomsky with Coretta Scott King and the Catholic Church, Dan Traube?

Here's another question. Why do you accuse president Bush of lying about WMD unless you can account for Saddam's yet unaccounted for WMD?

Posted by: Sirc_Valence at February 5, 2006 06:08 PM

This post was about the report of a former Iraqi Air Force general alleging that WMD were moved to Syria, as some American military officials suspect.

Posted by: Sirc_Valence at February 5, 2006 06:11 PM

Tell us if you think it would have been wise to let Saddam Hussein continue to violate the terms of ceasefire that were won after the U.S. had to repel his invasion of Kuwait. Tell us that that would not not have been a catastrophy for the forces of freedom and civilization. Would that put America in a stronger position to deal with Iran and other dangerous regimes, to bluff Saddam and everyone else that "this time we are really really serious.. really"?

I believe that most of the people equivocating and making up reasons to oppose the Operation Iraqi Freedom and President Bush really don't hold America's values and interests and don't believe them is worth fighting for, worth actually defending. That's the bottom line. You won't admit it because the left hasn't let go of its misconceptions about the way that the world works. Therefore the concerted witting and witless equivocation.

The president decided, correctly, that America was going to put its foot down, the "look the other way" strategy of Bill Clinton under who's administration al Qaeda spread to over 60 countries and escalated in sophistication and destructiveness.. the "look the other way" strategy which assumess that the same UN which allowed 800,000 Rwandans to be literally butcherd and hacked to death will protect America's interests against a suicidal Islamofascist terrorists and statesponsors of terrorists who are smuggling who knows what under the nose and with the complicity of members of the UN- was just not cutting it.

1 Thes 5:21
Test everything. Hold on to the good.

Posted by: Sirc_Valence at February 5, 2006 06:51 PM

Sarin and most other poisons are battlefield tactical weapons. Sarin isn't even a very good area denial weapon, since it blows away in the wind and won't linger very long. It is certainly not anthrax, for example— which is still not a terribly effective weapon for mass destruction purposes.

Let's all be clear. We are not talking about Weapons Of Mass Destruction here, and using the acronym WMD is therefore an egregious distortion at best. More likely, it's just an out-and-out lie— which would be typical for this gang.

Posted by: s9 at February 6, 2006 12:07 AM

Sirc said:
"Test everything. Hold on to the good."

I have tested Bush's words and actions and have found them wanting and so I rebuke his actions in an effort to work for God's justice. As I ought to, according to you, correct?

Would it have been wise to allow Saddam to go on unchallenged? No. And no one is advocating such. We just believe this war to be ill-advised, ill-planned and, frankly, illegal.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 6, 2006 10:50 AM

"We just believe this war to be ill-advised, ill-planned and, frankly, illegal."

With this statement, then you believe some wars should be fought and would be legal -right?

Larry Who

Posted by: Larry Who at February 6, 2006 11:42 AM


Saddam was contained after his forces got expelled from Kuwait. His army was decimated, and although he took occasional potshots at American planes enforcing the no-fly zone around his borders, he was not capable of threatening stability in the Middle East. So no, it "would not have been a catastrophy for the forces of freedom and civilization" had we maintained the status quo.

Before 9/11 the Bush administration said this of Saddam's weapons capabilities:
"He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors."

You also question whether continuing to merely contain Saddam rather than invading would "put America in a stronger position to deal with Iran and other dangerous regimes". I have a three-part reply to that. First, the answer is yes. Our invasion of Iraq - and Bush's labeling Iran part of the axis of evil - are thought by many people to have led the hard-line clerics that hold all the real power in Iran to clamp down on the reform movement. The hardliners felt the moderates were too closely aligned with the U.S. and banned or otherwise inhibited these pro-reform candidates from mounting successful campaigns for election. Now the moderates are essentially gone from the legislature and Iran is led by an extremist.

Second, our invasion and failure to find WMDs has led to a loss of American credibility around the world. It will be much harder for America to lead a multilateral mix of incentives and threats to get Iran to disarm because very few countries trust our intentions and the Iranians are not widely despised as Saddam was.

Third, you put all the onus on opponents of the Iraq war. I put it to you to demonstrate why our presence in Iraq will make it easier to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Do you think we can just move all our troops out of Iraq and into Iran? Where would that leave Iraq? Do you think we can send another 100,000-200,000 battle-ready troops from around the world into Iran and topple the regime as easily as we did with Saddam? Because that is impossible. We don't have the troops, and even if we did, Iran wouldn't be the cakewalk that Iraq was. Or do you think that bombing Iran into oblivion will either magically lead to the dissolution of the clerics' hold on power or eliminate the nuclear threat? Because neither of those scenarios is likely either. Iran's weapons facilities are well hidden and well protected, and the power structure in Iran is much more distributed and independent of the will of a single leader than it was in pre-war Iraq. Furthermore, Russia and especially China increasingly depend on Iran for oil. It is highly unlikely that they are going to allow us to do anything to risk their supply.

The rest of your commentary reveals a similar ignorance of history and contemporary reality and is rife with partisan hypocrisy. Rwanda? Ever heard of Darfur?!? And you think attacks against the U.S. are due to Clinton's lack of will toward Al Qaeda? Because I have news for you: the majority of so-called terrorist attacks in Iraq are not coming from Al Qaeda, and Bush - not Clinton - received a national intelligence estimate entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" prior to 9/11.

Furthermore, terrorist recruiting by Al Qaeda has increased since Bush took his cowboy approach to foreign policy.

Under Bush, extremism has also taken root much more deeply in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Palestine, in some cases by democratic means. Does anyone remember widespread rioting in Muslim populations across the world in response to cartoons during Clinton's years?

Oh, and by the way, your simple-minded branding of opponents of Bush's policies as partisan liberals fails to account for Dan's list of religious denominations that also opposed the war. The Catholic Church, among others, can hardly be considered liberal.

As to the "missing WMD" to which you refer, perhaps you could offer some actual evidence to support your accusation. While you are at it, perhaps you - or Doug - could explain (1) why Iraqis who have nothing else to gain at this point have claimed that the WMD were destroyed in Iraq or overestimated by the west prior to the war, (2) why U.S. spy satellites, which were trained on Saddam in the run-up to the war, did not detect the enormous ground shipments making their way to Syria that Doug's article describes, (3) why the Bush administration, whose reputation could certainly benefit from the accusation Doug is making, is not routinely offering Doug's particular defense of their failure to find the WMD in Iraq, and ESPECIALLY (4) why, after capturing nearly all the senior members of Saddam's regime, including Saddam, the U.S. has been unable to identify the location of the WMD you insist were still in Iraq shortly before the U.S. invasion?

This part is exclusively for Doug: How can you expect us to take the word of one guy from Iraq who nobody has ever heard of? The guy doesn't even claim to have witnessed the events he describes! And how could all the big equipment - like rockets and secure carboys - have been transported? Certainly not by planes. And if not by planes, why wasn't it detected? And if Saddam could smuggle WMD to Syria, why wasn't he able to smuggle himself out of Iraq? Can't you admit the simplest explanation is that your claims aren't credible? How many times must we tolerate screaming from NRO/Malkin/Hewitt/CQ/Rush/Coulter/O'Reilly and their spinoff wannabees that proof for Saddam's WMD now exists, that Saddam had strong links to international terrorism, that Iraq is making fantastic progress toward becoming a self-sufficient democracy - despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary? Does proof mean nothing to you, or is it all about defending your team, right or wrong?

And yes, Larry, although I can't speak for Dan, many on the left believe there is such a thing as a just war. Our involvement in the liberation of Europe during WWII was an example. For some of the reasons why the invasion of Iraq fails the test of a just war, I recommend you read an Op-Ed Jimmy Carter wrote in the NYT just prior to the U.S. attack.

Posted by: dem at February 6, 2006 04:06 PM

This is one of the more sane arguments back and forth on this issue that I have seen, for whatever that is worth. There is no dispute the Saddam gassed the Kurds back in his heyday. I wonder: was that the only gas he had in his holster, so to speak? If not, where did the rest of it go?

Posted by: PDS at February 6, 2006 04:32 PM

Yes, what dem said.

Yes, I think there is such a thing as a "legal" or legitimate war. As one who believes in Just Peacemaking, I disagree with nearly all wars but, knowing my position is in the minority, I concede the right of a nation to defend itself.

Iraq was not self-defense.

In the case of massive oppression (most of Saddam's killing happened during that time when we were supporting him, incidentally), I believe the world needs to come up with alternative solutions.


Because we don't have enough resources - financial or in humanity - to wage war in every place where human rights violations are occurring.

And despite baseless accusations that progressives would "do nothing" in the face of oppression, we need alternative solutions SO THAT we can work to prevent the gassing of the Kurds, the genocide in Rwanda, the decimation of fields and farmers in Colombia (an effort the US supports), etc. The war-as-solution is the response that is lacking in credibility in the real world.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 6, 2006 04:58 PM

Since war is not a sin, but at times an option, how can we mortals really determine what is a just war?

And Jimmy Carter is probably not a good choice to be the deciding arbiter on what is a just war or not. I voted for him twice and I'm still doing penance for it.

Alas, only time and events decide whether a war was just or not.

Larry Who

Posted by: Larry Who at February 6, 2006 05:35 PM

No, Larry, questioning how we can determine "what is a just war" is an excuse. Your comment that "time and events decide whether a war was just or not" extends that cop-out to a variation on the false "ends justify the means" argument. And dismissing what Carter says because you don't like the man is intellectually lazy. Many points have been raised about the justification for this war and the ramifications it is currently having. Which ones are refutable and which ones are not? Don't be distracted by emotional noise or arguments devoid of credible evidence to back them up.

You are absolving yourself of responsibility to use your God-given brain to sort through the details and exert a moral influence on the action your country takes. I too am guilty of this. My talk is cheap. A more selfless person would be willing to sacrifice his time and act on his conscience. Although I give Doug a hard time, in some ways, I admire him. His talk is action. He seems to contribute to this blog because he believes he can help sway public opinion in a way that he believes will have a positive impact on society. I just wish he and his religious brethren agreed with my sense of morality.

Posted by: dem at February 6, 2006 06:17 PM

Larry, I'm sorry if I came across as lecturing you.

I also wanted to respond again to the question you posed to opponents of the Iraq war about whether we thought other wars were defensible. I forgot to say that I tend to think our invasion of Afghanistan was morally justifiable too. I think that as collaborators of Al Qaeda, the Taliban had to go. I'm not sure Dan and s9 will agree with me, so let me be clear that I am stating only my opinion. I realize there are significant criticisms of our government's failure to explore alternatives to war.

That being said, I think the way the aftermath has been handled is shameful, and our government has not been held accountable for leaving the country in shambles. By that criticism, our invasion of Afghanistan does not meet the last criterion of Carter's definition of a just war. I rationalize this in my mind not as a failure that was intrinsic to the endeavor but that was due to the incompetence and disinterest of the Bush administration. In other words, the outcome could be a lot better if we were responsible caretakers and guardians of the country. This precedent also makes me fear for the future of Iraq.

Posted by: dem at February 6, 2006 06:49 PM

"Sarin isn't even a very good area denial weapon, since it blows away in the wind and won't linger very long."-S9

The point is that if terrorists shouldn't be allowed to board commercial airliners they shouldn't have access to WMD. I recall that a pinch of Ricin is lethal, causing victims shock and circulatory failure. No one was arguing that Saddam's military really posed a threat to us, the threat always came from the fact that we were dealing with a terrorist regime, that is a man who achieved his aims through terrorism, and the fact that the long term threat that consists of fanaticism that is stoked by tyranny and the oppressive nature of the region together with WMD proliferation, together with appeasement and moral confusion posed.

S9, you falsely claimed that nuclear weapons "was the central claim of the administration to justify the war" and cry that we shouldn't lable the nerve agent, Sarin, a Weapon of Mass Destruction. How does that rationally support the charge that you and the equivocating clown Dan Traube wish to make, which is that the war is illegal? Please forgive us oh magistrates of incoherence and delusion. Please!

"Would it have been wise to allow Saddam to go on unchallenged? No. And no one is advocating such."

You have spent all this time proceeding to defend the status quo ante-bellum and finish it off by trying to present it as the solution and alternative to the president's decision to liberate Iraq?

The strategic, moral, and legal case for Operation Iraqi Freedom is just insurmountable and to call that action "illegal and ill-advised" is nothing but hogwash. should only highlight the nature of the threat. The American people decided that the president was correct in his judgement that the world had seen enough of Saddam and his beastly sons, which is why the president was re-elected.

America is not carpet bombing cities as was done in Germany and Japan, and the losses that we have taken, as painful as they are (who said war was pleasant?), could only be dreamed of by Americans who have fought fascism in the past. But I don't recall people being as shamelessly unpatriotic, unproductive, or foolish as those who oppose the role of the United States today in the current struggle for freedom and civilization.

Posted by: Sirc_Valence at February 6, 2006 06:51 PM

dem argues that Saddam was "contained" (guess he never heard of the loopholes that he found in the oil program of the UN) and that "he was not capable of threatening stability in the Middle East" while US forces are finding Iraqi records that reveal that Saddam trained at least 2,000 terrorists from 1999-2002 in Samarra, Ramadi, and Salman Pak. Yeah, and nevermind that 1998 indictment against al Qaeda and bin Laden charging that "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."

What do you libs have to offer besides the ostrich approach to the real world and chanting defeatist slogans and singing the tired old "I hate Bush" song? There's too much stuff going on in the world to get bogged down in the nonsense of America's enemies and some of you infantile libs.

Posted by: Sirc_Valence at February 6, 2006 06:54 PM

Dem, we can coulda-woulda-shoulda all we want about what Iran might or might not have done if we hadn't liberated Iraq. But let's grant that their hardliners got harder because of it.

At the same time, Col. Kaddafi of Lybia got all contrite after seeing us deal with Iraq. During this time, Syria has finally felt compelled to leave Lebanon. There have been a host of changes in the Middle East for the better to go along with the possiblilty of influencing Iran for the worse.

As to point 1, this Iraqi official himself has nothing to gain at this point, either. As to point 2, he covered that; they were sent during relief flights to Syria. Yes, Bush would benefit if he had physical proof of this (point 3), but that's harder to do once the stuff is in Syria. As to point 4, there are boatloads of bunkers in Iraq that have been emptied out. There, perhaps?

My main point was to see how quickly out-of-hand this guy was dismissed, or even just ignored. Judging by the responses here, my not-so-scientific sampling leads me to suggest that we'll not hear much about him from the Left. Thank you for your particiption, folks.

As for me, I'm still ambivalent as to whether the WMDs are in Syria, in spite of others who have said the same. However, there is one big ol' elephant in the room. UN inspectors knew he had a bunch of chem/bio weapons before they were kicked out. When they went back in, these weapons were not accounted for; not listed as used, sold, or destroyed. It is a fact that these weapons did exist; Bush could not have lied about that. Therefore, where did they go? You can't say they were never there; they were documented by the UN as being there.

Sleep tight.

Posted by: Doug Payton at February 6, 2006 07:05 PM

By the way, Sirc. The discussions on this blog have been pretty darn civil, and I'd like to keep it that way. Please do not escalate (e.g. your "clown" and "infantile" comments).

That is all.

Posted by: Doug Payton at February 6, 2006 07:11 PM


I appreciate your response. However, as you might expect, I disagree with you. Let's take Qaddafi first. You state as fact that Qaddafi embraced diplomacy and gave up his arms ambitions due to Bush's foreign policy. But that is actually just your interpretation. You offer no evidence of causality. Qaddafi never said America had scared him into changing his ways, and in fact evidence exists to contradict your claim. This includes his efforts to obtain nuclear materiel as recently as months after Saddam's overthrow and the fact that his weapons program was in a very nascent state (thus leading him to sacrifice little by "giving them up").

As to other changes in the Middle East, as I pointed out earlier, those are at best a mixed bag. Even if your view were correct, if you weigh Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon against the acquisition of all the WMD you believe have gone missing from Iraq, could you really call that a net gain in regional stability and world security?

You also said that Sada claimed large equpiment was smuggled out in planes, but Sada only claimed that barrels were flown out of Iraq. Furthermore, as I said earlier, Sada is hardly credible. He never claimed to have seen any of the so-called evidence, and despite the fact that nearly all the top Baathists in Saddam's regime were captured, none of them have made similar claims.

And as to your point that Sada has nothing to gain, I suggest you read more closely. He has a book to promote.

You see closemindedness when liberals and the MSM refuse to indulge Sada and American rightwingers in this fantasy. My point is that you shouldn't expect attention to be given to someone unless they have some credibility. The press has a responsibility not to act as megaphones for every lunatic who wants to promote his agenda by making sensational claims.

Lastly, while it is true that multiple reasons were given to invade Iraq, the one that persuaded congress and the American people was the one that inspired fear: namely that Saddam's WMD (nuclear or not) were an immediate threat to our security. That is why the majority of Americans favor impeaching Bush if it can be proved that he lied about WMD - because that was the sine qua non for approval by the American public, who needed to be convinced it was getting involved in a war of necessity as opposed to a war of choice.

Posted by: dem at February 6, 2006 10:00 PM

Thanks, Doug, for the efforts to keep this discussion civil. It's appreciated.

Larry said:
"Since war is not a sin, but at times an option, how can we mortals really determine what is a just war?"

And dem has answered this well, but I thought I'd throw my response in for consideration. I did not say war isn't sin. I think it is. The question you asked earlier was war sometimes legal, and the answer to that question is Yes. As I'm sure you'll all agree, Legal and Just are often two different things.

Having said that, let me make the case for Just War which, while I have issues with, is at least a better starting point.

The problem with war, at least modern war as we know it, is that it cannot be contained to just harming the "bad guys." Pope Benedictine and Pope John Paul before him both pointed out that Just War Theory states:

The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants.

And that modern war virtually assures that this is impossible.

So how can we mortals determine what wars are just? I have two answers to that.

1. We Christian mortals are called to follow Jesus' teachings. Jesus taught us clearly to do good to those who hate us, to love our enemies. THAT is our teaching to follow. We Christians have nothing contravening these teachings.

Black and white. Conservatives usually dig that. That makes it pretty easy to determine what we ought to do in war.

2. But aside from the Christian angle, how do we determine whether a war is just? While I disagree with it, or at least its implementation in the past, I think the Just War Theory is a good starting place. And any time you place our young men and women in a guerilla war scenario, you virtually guarantee not being able to live by Just War principles.

If you want to hang on to the notion of a truly defensive war, I'm okay with you doing so. I didn't fault the Nicaraguan villagers for taking up arms against the Contra soldiers raiding their villages. I'm somewhat sympathetic to those in WWII taking up arms to try to stop Hitler (although I'd still argue that the wisdom of how we dealt with Hitler is debatable).

But we MUST stop the sort of military interventionism that the US has engaged in for the last 50 years. It is making us LESS, not more, secure.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 6, 2006 10:02 PM

Sirc, you didn't reply to any of my points. I provided links to evidence to support the ones I thought people here might not know about or believe. You provided none. Furthermore, the claims you made have been shown to be false. How did the oil-for-food scandal lead to destabilization of the Middle East? You offer no explanation because there is none. You spew forth other bogus claims. Here are two articles debunking what you said about Salman Pak:

Since you probably won't read those articles I will quote from the first:
"...a former C.I.A. station chief and a former military intelligence analyst said that the camp near Salman Pak had been built not for terrorism training but for counter-terrorism training. ...

[The reporter then explained the differences between terrorist and counter-terrorist training and evidence for the conclusion about Salman Pak.]

Salman Pak was overrun by American troops on April 6, 2003. Apparently, neither the camp nor the former biological facility has yielded evidence to substantiate the claims made before the war."

Since you refused to address any of my points with specifics and had to resort to personal insults (always a sign of a weak argument) I will not do you the courtesy of addressing the rest of your b.s. on a point-by-point basis.

When you can support your argument with information that doesn't come from partisan mudslingers and you show some willingness to address evidence that doesn't support your views, then we can have an informed debate. Otherwise I suggest you go back to blogs like Captain's Quarters, where your kind of behavior and credulity are not only welcome but encouraged.

Posted by: dem at February 6, 2006 10:33 PM

Dan said:
"I did not say war isn't sin. I think it is."

The Bible does not declare war as sin. In Revelation 12, God waged war against Satan. So, is God a sinner?

In Revelation 19, Jesus will someday be the leader of the victorious armies at Armageddon. So, will He be a sinner?

In Hebrews 11, it says about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David etc. that they became mighty in war and put foreign armies to flight.

One of the Lord's names is Man of War (Exodus 15:2).

God told Israel to go in and wage war against the nations in the promised land. This was not a defensive action. It was a search and destroy mission. So, is that sin?

As much as we may think that it should be, war is not a sin.

Dan also said:
"We Christian mortals are called to follow Jesus' teachings."

I agree that we are to follow Jesus' teaching, but Christ did not teach that war was sin. Not one verse. Why didn't He do that?

Larry Who

Posted by: Larry Who at February 6, 2006 10:40 PM

Sirc_valence writes: How does that rationally support the charge that you and the equivocating clown Dan Traube wish to make, which is that the war is illegal?

It doesn't. I'm not the one making that assertion. You are.

Yes, I'm willing to argue that both propositions are true. Yet, you're the one suggesting that the first proposition is support for the second, and by attempting to attribute it falsely to me, you are engaging— with all due respect, sir— in Bullshit.

Posted by: s9 at February 7, 2006 12:20 AM

"you're the one suggesting that the first proposition is support for the second
and by attempting to attribute it falsely to me"

I was quoting your false statement and responding to it. s9, you've managed to nearly explain the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy while producing a non-sequitor instead.

This advances the conversation how? I'de better not thank you for wasting peoples' time this way by adding any colorful comments which Nanny Payton might not like.

Anyway, you guys don't have to worry about me ruining your little website with my comments and judgements anymore, I don't plan to spend any more of my time here.

I'm through with this circus. So, Dougy, don't give me any of your "all views are welcome" nonsense, I consider that to be a given anywhere that I spend my time, so don't try to patronize by attempting to rise above the truth like some of your morally incoherent and confused visitors.

Which brings us to dem who links to a 2003 Seymor Hirsh piece which argues that Saddam was actually training counter-terrorists at Salman Pak because in 1986 terrorists hijacked an airplane in Iraq. Nevermind the Stephen Hayes' Jan. 2006 report that "Regime of Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq." Nevermind, again, the indictment 1998 indictment of bin Laden and al Qaeda charging, among other things, of cooperation in weapons and other projects between Saddam and bin Laden. Nevermind the meetings between al Qaeda and Iraqi intelligence officials during the 1990s ..because the United States juggled between bad and worse in the Mideast (politics, war, intelligence all involve pragmatism - that's why it is important to have a moral compass, one which the left is at war with) to a greater extent than it does today because the main focus was the Soviet Union, just as before that the main focus was Germany and Japan. Things change, they change alot, and we can't remain in the cartoon world of lefty moonbats and their economic misconceptions and warped views against America and man.

"Sirc, you didn't reply to any of my points."

False. In fact, before you claim that you go out of your way to try to falsely claim that "neither the camp nor the former biological facility has yielded evidence to substantiate the claims made before the war." Would that terrorist training camp be one of the specific statements that I was making with regard to your claim that Saddam Hussein, quote, "was not capable of threatening stability in the Middle East"?

Powell's statements in your MemoryHole link are interesting only because they show his view as being dovish and optimistic with regard to Iraq - PRIOR to 9-11. Al Qaeda didn't seem to be that big of a priority prior to that either. Powell and many other important policy analysts had to judge that what constitutes a significant threat obviously was underestimated in the past. This is what Karl Rove meant by saying that the Donks are living in a September 10 world. I've argued that they're behind the curve even further than that. So now the only conversations that we are having with Saddam now are between him and his defenders. I'de rather not put too much of my time into it.

The actions that were taken in Iraq and Afghanistan in making the world safer and better advance ideals and interests of humanity. You simply cannot negotiate with evil.

"Second, our invasion and failure to find WMDs has led to a loss of American credibility around the world." There is some truth in that, as people (the great majority of them being America's enemies) have exploited the uncertainty about one aspect of numerous clauses and resolutions that made the case for regime change. The world can be pretty mad and delusional, as the Danish cartoon crazyness fiasco shows. What matters is whether there is being substantial change. A democratic Iraq - a new strategic partner rather than an enemy in the War on Terror takes alot of power away from despotism and thus confusion. AND, the fact that America followed up on its ultimatum to Saddam Hussein added to the chance of diplomacy actually succeeding in other cases. In other words, America gains credibility in a much more profound way than in one based on appearances. I put the onus on the opponents of the war because their raising doubts about American resolve and even of credibility (!) harms the cause of civilization in what remains a dangerous and in many cases backwards and hostile world. Our presence in Iraq improves our position with Iran with the mere fact that if we need to act, there would be less of a delay than if we had to act from a more disadvantageous position. It's just common sense. All that may be necessary to prevent nukes, for now, is airstrikes against as many of Iran's facilities as is feasible to take out. That would leave Iraq in a better position, as a major headache, Islamofascists at war with civilization and those that want to participate in it would be prohibited from nuking mideast reform. I doubt that Iraq would fall apart in the amount of time that it would take to help the Iranian people overthrow their oppressors. The difficulty of something is not necessarily a reason to object to it. But you appear to think that that is enough, preferring the Neville Chamberlain approach. When civilization draws the line it must be enforced, because barbarians and degenerites are insatiable beasts. My approach is that if you are self-destructive, in whatever form, so be it, but don't expect me to accomodate you in your twisted ways because I will stand against them.

And yes, I've heard of Darfur, which America has been the leader in dealing with. We've done much more about it than in the 1990s. BTW, here's a newsflash, bin Laden was determined to attack the US long before president Bush was elected. As I recall, while Clinton slashed America's military and American intelligence capabilities, bin Laden was out establishing terrorist university in country after country, teaching people natural science and physics specifically for the purpose of committing terrorism. Sure, alot of them are desperately trying to pass on their infection of hatred, today, as what they believe to be their power is really being threatened. This only highlights the point that America is at war, America has to actually FIGHT them. A good way is by taking down two dictatorships and supporting the establishment of two democratic governments in their place.

You claim that Palestine has become more extremist, yet I see nothing new in the desire to wipe out Israel, except that people voted to that effect this time. No, the deep hatred and intolerance was already there, some of us are just now learning to pay more attention to it.

And speaking of paying attention, you ask "why U.S. spy satellites, which were trained on Saddam in the run-up to the war, did not detect the enormous ground shipments making their way to Syria that Doug's article describes". Actually, they did, as Michael DeLong, who was second in command at CENTCOM pointed out: "Two days before March 19, 2003, we saw quite a number of vehicles going into Syria. We could not go after them because we said we'd give Saddam 48 hours." Also, the report does not talk about "enormous ground shipments" it focuses on the charge that airplanes were used. Speaking of airplanes, I recall seeing buried Iraqi fighter jets in the desert - why the heck do that?
Was he thinking that his friends would save his regime? That might explain why he did not smuggle himself out of Iraq.

You consistently get it wrong. I didn't say that oil for food lead to destabilization, I was pointing out that Saddam Hussein was gaming the system- as David Kay's Survey Group report found. Other findings:

"A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment subject to UN monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW research." - "A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW agents, that Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the UN." - "New research on BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the UN." - "Clandestine attempts between late-1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300 km range ballistic missiles" - "The pattern of these efforts to erase evidence - hard drives destroyed, specific files burned, equipment cleaned of all traces of use - are ones of deliberate, rather than random, acts."

Dan Traube, with regard to your "alternative solutions": talk is cheap. War is not the solution to everything, so stop hiding behind the strawman that that was suggested. The fact of the matter is that Saddam was presented with an ultimatum, one which the 30-or-so year dictator apparently believed he needed to put off for four years only.

Your problem, Dan Traube, is that you put your faith in libs and false appearances. You demand a "better" way, yet you don't have enough faith in it to -actually- support it. If you let go of your utopian impatience and corrupt hippy influence, you will see that the world has been improving. You cant mask a fear of confrontation with idealism. You can't mask sinful ways with an ideology. That only leads to pathologies. Though many people have, and though there is alot to deal with today, I have an optimistic view, since the world has seen harder times than these.

Providence is a force that manifests itself through the unity of God's purpose and our determined will to fulfill it. The American enterprise in civilization depends on that fact. That people deny that is reflected in the way that some people are undermining the defense of this nation and the propogation of her values.

The truth is that if you can't really see good or evil, then you are not equipped to really understand the former or see the latter. Reality becomes a senseless pursuit of self-gratification. That is nihilism, and not the liberalism that built this country or gave America's Founders the wisdom and strength to fight for the civilization and liberty which many of us take for granted, or think of as "earned."

Phlegyas deposits them at a great Iron Gate which they find to be guarded by Rebellious Angels. These creatures of Ultimate Evil, rebel against God Himself, refuse to let the poets pass. Even Virgil is powerless against them, for Human Reason by itself cannot cope with the essence of Evil. Only Divine Aid can bring hope.--John Ciardi describing Canto VIII, The Inferno.


Posted by: Sirc_Valence at February 7, 2006 06:46 AM

Thanks all for continuing this important discussion. A couple thoughts on the nature of war for Christians.

Larry said:

"The Bible does not declare war as sin."

Nor does it declare slavery a sin, and yet it is.

The Bible (in the OT) does declare that eating shrimp is a sin - an abomination even! And yet we eat shrimp (and love it!) Why? Because we got a new teaching in the NT that all food is from God and good.

Yes, war happens in the OT, but we receive a new teaching from Jesus there, too. Jesus says, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'

"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you..."

So, until such time that you discover a way to love your enemies and kill them (and their children) at the same time - or until such time as God returns and specifically asks you to engage in war - I'd suggest that Christians ought to be about following this very fundamental teaching of Jesus.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 7, 2006 06:50 AM

Sirc has said a lot of stuff, including this:
"Your problem, Dan Traube, is that you put your faith in libs and false appearances. You demand a "better" way, yet you don't have enough faith in it to -actually- support it."

[And by the way, the name is "Trabue" not "Traube," fyi.]

I put my faith in God and God alone, sir. In the OT, when the Jews wanted to wage war, they had a tendency to want to trust in their weaponry and army. It was a tendency which God condemned in no uncertain words, asking them to instead trust in God.

I have no special trust in politics in general or Dems and Reps specifically. But in a Republic, I do take the opportunity to endorse those candidates which come closest to my views (we haven't had hardly any true progressives run in the US in a while, so I've not had anyone representing my views much).

What I don't do is try to enforce my minority view on the masses (as some on the religious right like to do). I'm advocating that the Church be the Church and follow our God and I'm advocating the country use as much reason and justice as possible in dealing with foreign policy.

I think it entirely reasonable to make a case that Just War Theory is a standard nations ought to use for determining when and when not to wage war. On the other hand, for the radical Pacifism position, while I think it makes a bunch of logical sense, it also requires a degree of trust in God. And since we're not a theocracy, I do not suggest our nation totally give up its armies and weaponry.

I'm just saying that Christians ought not partake in that sort of behavior, as was the case for the church the first 300 years of its existence.

Does that make sense?

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 7, 2006 07:08 AM

Pacifism is a powerful Christian character trait. George Fox, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. changed nations with their peacemaking views.

But pacifism never needs to be empowered by condemning others under a law (all wars are sin) that is not scriptural. And especially when one of the Lord's names is Man of War.

Jesus walked this earth under one of the most repressive warrior-states in the history of the world, Rome. And He never bothered to mention that all wars are sin.

Jesus described John the Baptist as the greatest prophet. When this same John was asked by a soldier what he needed to do to gain repentance, John (who was filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb)did not mention that all wars are sin.

Instead, John told the soldiers to be content with their wages, not take money by force or accuse anyone falsely.

I agree with following the fundamentals of Jesus' teaching, but we aren't called to ignore the rest of the Bible to advance our personal beliefs.

Hey, Dan, peace to you my brother?

Posted by: Larry Who at February 7, 2006 11:00 AM

Larry, if you don't want to call all war sin, I'm fine with the notion of calling all deliberate killing of innocent people sinful. Can we agree that far?

It's just that for the historic peace churches, modern war is synomynous with the killing of innocent people, so we feel comfortable calling war sin. But if you don't, fine. Let's rally around not killing innocent people.

And for what it's worth, I'm not trying to advance any personal beliefs. It's been suggested a few times here that I'm a hippy/leftie that's trying to wrap the bible around my personal views.

In fact, the opposite is true.

I was a conservative child/young man raise in a conservative church and, the more I read the Bible and took it seriously (as my church encouraged me to do, to their credit), the more I saw that Christians have to obey Christ's commands if they are to walk in Jesus' steps. Not all that radical until you start to stand up against the traditions of men.

Anyway, I reached my views on war and peace by way of conservatism, not liberalism, for what it's worth.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 7, 2006 11:33 AM


I agree that deliberate killing of innocents (also called murder as in "Thou shalt not murder") is sin.

I have no problem with pacifism. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God. What a great reward?

If you are a peacemaker, go out and spread the news, that of itself will empower you and you will be blessed for doing it.

Larry Who

Posted by: Larry Who at February 7, 2006 11:59 AM

Sirc_valence responds: "I was quoting your false statement and responding to it. s9, you've managed to nearly explain the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy while producing a non-sequitor instead."

I will not engage in a spelling flame. I will not engage in a spelling flame. I will not engage in a spelling flame. I will not engage in a spelling flame. I will not engage in a spelling flame.

I will especially not engage in a spelling flame with a player who still invokes the "I know you are, but what am I?" style of rhetoric.

Posted by: s9 at February 7, 2006 01:03 PM

The terrorists are laughing their butts off over Americans' infighting. And gleefully preparing the next attack.

So, like the memo from the summer of '91, I get a telegram directly from Bin Laden that promises an attack next Thursday. That's all he says. Okay, boys and girls. Let's play PANIC !!

Who evacuates, to where, and when? C'mon all you with all the answers. How would you do it better?

Posted by: Across The Flow at February 7, 2006 04:49 PM

How would I do it better? Well, if I were George W:

1. I'd issue an apology for rogue US policy. I point out that we often had the best of intentions but overstepped our bounds by invading Iraq. Our military was just wanting to stop the oppression happening there, but we did it in the wrong way.

2. I'd release all information showing what laws we broke and admit my guilt.

3. I'd join the ICC and work to strengthen it.

4. I'd work to strengthen the UN and do what I could to purge the corruption therein.

5. I'd decrease the military budget by half (down to $300 billion-ish)

6. I'd begin to purge our nuclear WMDs.

7. I'd return $100 billion to the taxpayers, because I believe in a smaller gov't.

8. I'd increase foreign aid by $100 billion.

9. I'd begin balancing the budget with some of the remainder of the peace surplus.

10. Having already admitted my guilt to all laws I'd broken, I'd step down in shame and welcome whatever penalty I'm due, but only asking for the world to begin to work together to be a more peaceful and just place.

You asked.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 7, 2006 05:09 PM

Across, there is nothing wrong with a demand for accountability in government, which is something the left feels that Americans have been denied. Thus, I think your post would be more relevant in a different thread. The discussion here has been about Saddam's WMD and the moral judgment involved in invading Iraq. Do not conflate that with Al Qaeda's threats. Saddam and Al Qaeda were not in cahoots. There is no evidence that Saddam posed a significant threat to us while he remained contained by the U.S. and other forces prior to the war. Meanwhile, bin Laden, who DID attack us, remains at large and continues to threaten us, despite the fact that Bush rarely mentions him.

I would prefer to stay on track here. But if you persist in asking how we would do it better, perhaps you could first explain how invading Iraq has made us more secure. And how the failure to find WMD - and make no mistake, that is a colossal failure - justifies invading Syria. Or attacking Iran. If we were to attack either of those countries, as some on the right are advocating, how would the U.S. justify it? What would it do to eroded U.S. credibility and influence if no WMD were found in Syria? Would an unprovoked attack on another Muslim country be more or less likely to increase violence toward the West?

As to the infighting you think is occurring here, I think the discussion on this thread qualifies as healthy debate - except for Sirc's tirade and a couple of regrettably snarky comments on my part. I also believe civil debate is a means of bridging the growing differences between the right and the left in this country. It is a sign of respect and a sign of a healthy democracy that we even try to discuss matters about which we disagree, and it would not be permitted in the society that Al Qaeda would like us to become.

Posted by: dem at February 7, 2006 10:28 PM

Nice try at "dissing".

To rephrase the question:

What would you do if you were warned of an attack but not told when or where?

You blew it off and submitted a list of TOTALLY unrelated pseudo solutions programmed for global failure e.g. reduce, REDUCE??, defense in the face of a rabid enemy who regularly beheads unarmed civilians.

Answer the question!

What would you do? You are the Commander in Chief. I can only assume that five minutes into the office, you slashed defense, and doubled foreign aid including aide to the countries that repeatedly have stated how much they hate us and have repeatedly misused the funds.

National debt? How about pulling all foreign aide for two years? That ought to make a pretty good dent. Uh-oh. You are concerned about all the poor people in those countries, but not concerned about the gassed Kurdish babies in Iraq for which there are pictures. Answer the question:


CAN you answer it? Or are you incapable of setting aside your insatiable desire to slash Bush to look that particular scenario in the eye? What would you do?

I've read the thread again. I printed it. Saddam was a dictator. What makes you think he wouldn't know about an Al Quaida training camp in his back yard? He would have to support it or it wouldn't have been there. duh.

Discovered documents detailing the Al Quaida connection are such a huge pile, it's taking all this time and more to translate them. They're still classified, but leaked, (a familiar congressional malady).

The UN (protecting their cash flow through corruption)couldn't find WMDs because (a real duh) they weren't there!! They were moved to Syria!!! Cameras did indeed see the trucks.

17 democrats from 1998 through 2003 begged the presidency both verbally and in writing to take out Saddam because he posed a threat.

They lied too?

Prove Mr. Sada wrong. Oh, BTW, the UN doesn't have to answer to any president trying to clean it up. The US president is not in that position.

I will check back for a direct answer to my direct question but if there are woulda, coulda, shoulda bashing, hateful commentary (not to be confused with healthy), I am vindicated.

Posted by: Across The Flow at February 8, 2006 10:28 AM

Nice try at "dissing".

To rephrase the question:

What would you do if you were warned of an attack but not told when or where?

You blew it off. Rude, not healthy. REDUCE?? defense in the face of a rabid enemy who regularly beheads unarmed civilians?

Answer the question!

What would you do?

National debt? How about pulling all foreign aide for two years? That ought to make a pretty good dent. Uh-oh. You are concerned about all the poor people in those countries, but not concerned about the gassed Kurdish babies in Iraq for which there are pictures.

Answer the question:


Are you able to set aside your insatiable desire to bash?

What would you do?

Regarding the connection theory: What makes you think Saddam wouldn't know about an Al Quaida training camp in his back yard? He would have to support it or it wouldn't have been there.

Discovered documents detailing the Al Quaida connection are such a huge pile, it's taking all this time and more to translate them. They're still classified, but leaked, (a familiar congressional and senatorial habit).

The UN (protecting their cash flow through corruption)couldn't find WMDs because (a real duh) they weren't there!! They were moved to Syria!!! Cameras did indeed see the trucks. Now we have an eye witness. You believed the captured official when he said there never were any, but not another official, on the run, who says there are WMDs and where they are.

17 democrats from 1998 through 2003 begged the presidency both verbally and in writing to take out Saddam because he posed a threat.

They lied too?

Prove Mr. Sada wrong. Oh, BTW, the UN doesn't have to answer to any president trying to clean it up. The US president is not in that position. I'd like to throw them out of New York but that's just me.

I will check back for a direct answer to my direct question but if there are woulda, coulda, shoulda bashing, hateful hindsight commentary (not to be confused with healthy), I am vindicated.

Posted by: Across The Flow at February 8, 2006 10:39 AM

I was quite sincere in my response, ATF. I (and I'm not alone in this) think one of the greatest threats to the US is our own belligerence.

Think about it:

You are the leader of a nation that is not the world’s lone superpower.

You watch the superpower break international laws, invade countries, threaten to use nuclear weapons, break international treaties and ignore international opinion. Oh, they always claim to be doing it for noble causes – to stop oppression, to help economies, to ensure peace. Further, it seems that they are actually doing some of that some of the time.

At the same time, you can’t help but notice that they’re getting wealthier while your nation is getting poorer. Their nation is cleaner while your nation is getting dirtier, thanks to the polluting industries that have left their nations and come to yours, seeking a country that can’t afford to turn them away, even as they despoil your resources. You can’t help but notice that their trade agreements benefit their corporations and multinational corporations, but not your people and that the trade laws take away some of your national sovreignty in favor of these multinational corporations.

You notice that they have enough nuclear WMD to wipe the world out 20 times over but they don’t want YOUR nation to have any nuclear weaponry, that they routinely do what they tell other countries they can’t do.

You see all this and notice that they’re deploying troops to your borders. How much do you trust them?

I HAVE answered your question. You don’t have to like my answer, but it was a genuine response with legitimate reasoning behind it. Answer the above question from me, then: How much do you trust this rogue superpower?

Or don’t answer it and I am vindicated.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 8, 2006 11:12 AM

And I'll say it again, this is not about bashing Bush or the Republicans. One can have a difference of opinion and not be a hopeless nay-sayer. And note that in my last response, I criticized the Free Trade Agreements - those were a device created by Bill Clinton, not Bush.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 8, 2006 11:15 AM

Dan, that's not an answer let alone a direct response. Again:

What would you do as leader of the USA if Osama B.L. said he was planning an attack and didn't tell you when or where?

I did not ask for background, justification, or a rogue nations report. Your alleged answer is a nonsensical blither dancing and tripping around a simple question--what would you (and here's the kicker) DO000000OOOOO ?

My answers are multiple choice:
a. Total disclosure to the nation via live satellite, causing mass panic.
b. Send out the spies which apparently are no longer trustworthy.
c. Notify the UN to be on alert as if we can trust them either.
d. Beef up security at all airports, ports, and borders and hope you guess correctly the enemy's timing and methods.

The whole scenario is lose, lose unless we guess correctly. I don't care how which rogue nation came to what point or when. I am AT A POINT -- a threat, and I have to deal with what's going on AT THAT POINT.

I want to keep the enemy from attacking AGAIN.

So long. I'll catch another subject later.

Posted by: Across The Flow at February 8, 2006 01:50 PM

And did he answer my question? No! Aww, too bad, ATF. You lose. Better luck next time.

If it makes you feel better, I'd do all of the above answers I gave earlier AND I would probably choose e) All of the above.

Things are rarely only a choice of your way or no way, ATF.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 8, 2006 02:53 PM

Cross, you accused me or Dan or both of us of being rude. I don't see why we should be obliged to address your question when you have ignored nearly all our prior comments and criticisms, reducing them to mere Bush-bashing, and since you are trying to hijack the debate by presenting a false analogy.

I have explained why Sada's claim is not credible. You have not addressed those criticisms. Instead, you elevate Sada to being an eyewitness to smuggling when in fact he never claimed to witness the actions he describes (reread the article). You also say cameras spied WMD moving to Syria, but those cameras merely saw trucks moving. Please provide evidence that those trucks carried WMD. Until you can argue convincingly why Sada's claim should be believed and how we should act on it, I am content to say Bush's policy toward Syria and possible WMD from Iraq is just fine. Before you push me to say anything else about this topic, I respectfully ask you to explain why the Bush administration is not arguing for intervention in Syria based on the so-called evidence you seem so eager to seize on. Despite your requirement that Dan and I prove Syria does not have Saddam's WMD, the burden of proof is on people like you to prove that it does.

I have also provided you with articles debunking some of the claims that have been made about Saddam training Islamic terrorists. Below is yet another one. Moreover, even George Bush will no longer say that Saddam had credible connections to Al Qaeda, much less to training terrorists. If you can provide me with a link to an article appearing in the mainstream press within the last year that refutes my claims, I would be willing to reconsider. In the meantime, here is yet another article supporting my view:

You also go off on a tangent about Kurdish babies being gassed. But in fact that is not relevant to the debate. Nobody is claiming that Saddam wasn't a monster. The argument is about whether we had to go to war to stop him from attacking us. That - not human rights - was the issue that Bush used to convince a dubious public it had to support a war of choice as opposed to a war of necessity. But if you must go off on your tangent, then consider this: In the early 1980s Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy to Ronald Reagan, was willing to overlook Saddam's heinous crimes in an effort to secure oilflow to America and an alliance with Iraq against Iran. Shamefully, the U.S. continued to sell military equipment to Iraq during this period:

Finally, there is your red herring question: what would we do about an immediate terrorist threat? Address my points above and explain how your question applies to our government's choice to attack Iraq, which posed no threat to the U.S., and then an answer to your question will be appropriate.

Posted by: dem at February 8, 2006 02:56 PM

The second-to-last link I included in my last comment was supposed to be:

Gotta learn me some html.

Also, I meant to say:
"The argument is about whether we had to go to war to stop him from attacking us. That - not human rights - was the issue that Bush used to convince a dubious public it had to support a war of necessity as opposed to a war of choice."

Sorry. Gotta learn me to proofread.

Posted by: dem at February 8, 2006 03:03 PM

One more and I am out 'o here.

"The argument is about whether we had to go to war to stop him from attacking us." By denying Saddam's association with Al Qaeda, despite the British report quoted in the Washington Times, you can deny the urgency to depose him, identifying him as not associated with the 9/11 attack. I have enough faith to believe in Creationism as stated in the Bible. I do not have enough faith to swallow that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.

Without proof from the mainstream media that clearly has supported the left back to the 20's, there is no article to satisfy you, but there is plenty of information out there, just not your chosen old line news sources. ignoring 9/11, approx. the 17th hit on America here and abroad, and/or reclassifying 3000 American civilian deaths as punishment, Saddam's deposition at the request of Congress, including at least 17 prominent Democrats from 1998 up to the Iraq invasion (documented, 3 from John Kerry),is being declared a first strike SO THAT there are grounds to .... what? Hate? Berate? Impeach? Certainly not to defend a future of which my two grandchildren are already poised to inherit.

My silly question happened summer of '91. Subsequent threats on tape keep coming out. It's not over. Stop hating. Stop spewing hatred. Instead try to figure out how to band together from this day forward. History did not begin in November of 2000.

Nobody's listening.

Posted by: Across The Flow at February 8, 2006 03:48 PM

If you can't understand the difference between criticism and hatred, then we have an insurmountable communication barrier. And by addressing your various points I showed you far more courtesy than you did to me. I even complimented you at your blog.

You can cover your ears and pretend that nobody is listening, or run away from the debate as you and Sirc threatened to earlier, but it won't accomplish anything. The majority of the public supports impeachment proceedings if it can be established that Bush lied about the WMD threat. That's not me gleefully bashing Bush, just explaining to you the seriousness with which the general public - not just me (who supported the invasion of Afghanistan, as I mentioned earlier) - takes the question of why we invaded Iraq.

Iraq is not Afghanistan. Unnecessary war leads to unnecessary suffering, and it does not guarantee improved security. Don't let fear get the best of you.

Posted by: dem at February 8, 2006 04:19 PM

Fat fingers.

Summer of '01.

Posted by: Across The Flow at February 8, 2006 04:26 PM

Not running. Not afraid. Out of breath. Thanks for the nice comments. I'm a nice person. Best friend is a Jewish atheist liberal. We just agree not to "get into it." There's a fuzzy line between harsh criticism and hatred, hatred being more the motive than the result.

I still maintain letting go of differences and finding a common goal, linking arms rather than elbowing one another. Go forward is my plea.

We can start with "What to do with the threat at hand now, today, tomorrow." Build, not tear down. Anyone?

Posted by: Across The Flow at February 8, 2006 04:33 PM

But what of those of us who think that our actions today and yesterday are affecting the threat at hand tomorrow? Are you graciously inviting us to join with you in your war that we disagree with simply because we are currently in it?

We can say, No thank you, and stand opposed to it and it still not be an act of hatred. I don't hate you, I don't hate Bush. I do strongly disagree with Bush policy and can't join with you in supporting it from here on out.

It's like this: If you had a neighbor who broke in to your house, you might forgive him, you might not be angry at him, but you'd still want to see him prosecuted (especially if he was not repentent of his behavior). If he said to you, "But I robbed from you yesterday, let's go on from here and build a better neighborhood for tomorrow," I'm guessing you'd say, No thanks.

No hatred here, but no thanks.

Certainly I agree we ought to be building from here, but not building upon a bad foundation. Let's tear down the bad foundation and start over.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 8, 2006 04:41 PM

Mr. SADA was retired since late 1989. He never served in the no.2 post in the former Iraqi AF not even the tenth. The highest post he achieved was that of the Air Safety Directorate. He also used to mediate between the former Iraqi government and the Vatican. His argument is not supported by irrefutable solid facts, sorry to say that.

Posted by: GHOST at February 12, 2006 06:10 AM

This guy may or may not be lieing, he may or may not know the facts or be right with his analysis but in any event somthing is going on because saddam had wmd's not nuclear despite the absurd claim that the threat of a nuke being the main reason we went in, but that is another debate. The real story is saddam had bio weapons and used them. what happened to the? if they were not in his hands he had all the time in the world 7 years a million resolutions to explain where they went. Saddam is going to be hung over his inability to explain abotu his weapons programs espite what people think about bush and he lied, saddam is a real liar! he got into power with force and violence and lied as soon as he got in. These wmds need to be found nd the bush administration needs to get their heads out of their asses and explain in great detail what happened to saddams wmds.

Posted by: Ed at February 18, 2006 03:22 AM