About the Ties Between Saddam and Osama

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The White House

The following news brief was sent out by the White House on June 18, 2004.

9/11 Commission Report Confirms Administration's Views of al-Qaeda/Iraq TiesPresident

A 9/11 Commission staff report supports the Bush Administration's longstanding conclusion that there was no evidence of" collaboration" between Iraq and al-Qaeda on the 9-11 attacks against the United States. The Administration has said, however, that it was worried about a number of contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda, including contacts between senior Iraqi intelligence officers and senior members of al-Qaeda. The Commission's investigation does not dispute that contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda occurred.

The Administration also knew that Iraq was harboring a terrorist network headed by Zarqawi. Zarqawi, the senior al-Qaeda associate who was known to be in Baghdad for medical treatment in May 2002, continues to undertake indiscriminate acts of terrorism today. The Administration knew Saddam had longstanding, direct, and continuing ties to a number of terrorist groups, including groups responsible for killing Americans.

On Thursday, both President Bush and the 9/11 Commission's Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton commented on press reaction to this 9/11 Commission staff report:

"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. This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al-Qaeda. We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. For example, Iraqi intelligence officers met with bin Laden, the head of al-Qaeda, in the Sudan. There's numerous contacts between the two."
- President George W. Bush, 06/17/04

"I must say I have trouble understanding the flack over this. The vice president is saying, I think, that there were connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's government. We don't disagree with that. What we have said is... we don't have any evidence of a cooperative, or a corroborative relationship between Saddam Hussein's government and these al-Qaeda operatives with regard to the attacks on the United States. So it seems to me the sharp differences that the press has drawn, the media has drawn, are not that apparent to me."
- Lee Hamilton, 9/11 Commission Vice Chairman, 06/17/04

The New York Times

From the NYT, June 18, 2004

President Bush and Vice President Cheney said yesterday that they remain convinced that Saddam Hussein's government had a long history of ties to Al Qaeda, a day after the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks reported that its review of classified intelligence found no evidence of a" collaborative relationship" that linked Iraq to the terrorist organization.

Mr. Bush, responding to a reporter's question about the report after a White House cabinet meeting yesterday morning, said:"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."

He said:"This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and Al Qaeda. We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. For example, Iraqi intelligence officers met with bin Laden, the head of Al Qaeda, in the Sudan. There's numerous contacts between the two."

He repeated that Mr. Hussein was"a threat" and"a sworn enemy to the United States of America."

Last night Mr. Cheney, who was the administration's most forceful advocate of the Qaeda-Hussein links, was more pointed, repeating in detail his case for those ties and saying that The New York Times's coverage yesterday of the commission's findings"was outrageous."

"They do a lot of outrageous things," Mr. Cheney, appearing on"Capital Report" on CNBC, said of the Times, referring specifically to a four-column front page headline that read"Panel Finds No Qaeda-Iraq Tie." Mr. Cheney added:"The press wants to run out and say there's a fundamental split here now between what the president said and what the commission said."...

From the NYT (June 19, 2004):

... The report found that there did not appear to have been a "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and the terrorist network.

That finding appeared to undermine one of the main justifications cited by Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney for invading Iraq and toppling Mr. Hussein....

Mr. Hamilton, a former Democratic House member from Indiana and former chairman of the House intelligence committee, said the commission has found evidence of repeated contacts between Iraqi officials and the Qaeda terrorists and may describe those contacts in greater detail in its final report next month. But he said the panel had been unable to document any "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and the terror network — against the United States or any other target....

...Advisers to the White House said Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney would continue to be aggressive in countering the commission's conclusions — or in the White House's official view, the misinterpretation by the news media of the commission's conclusions — because failing to do so would undermine their credibility and their rationale for taking the country to war.

The Bush campaign and the Republican National Committee sent e-mail messages to supporters highlighting comments by Mr. Kean and Mr. Hamilton on Thursday suggesting that they saw no big gulf between the White House's position and the commission. Mr. Bartlett said Mr. Bush had no specific plans at the moment to revisit the issue in a speech, but that he would raise it when he had the opportunity in coming weeks.

"We'll continue to talk about how Saddam Hussein was a threat, and his ties to terrorism, and we will not give an inch on what we've said in the past," Mr. Bartlett said.

One outside adviser to the White House said the administration expected the debate over Iraq's ties to Al Qaeda to be "a regular feature" of the presidential campaign.

"They feel it's important to their long-term credibility on the issue of the decision to go to war," the adviser said. "It's important because it's part of the overall view that Iraq is part of the war on terror. If you discount the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, then you discount the proposition that it's part of the war on terror. If it's not part of the war on terror, then what is it — some cockeyed adventure on the part of George W. Bush?"...

From a NYT editorial, June 19, 2004:

When the commission studying the 9/11 terrorist attacks refuted the Bush administration's claims of a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, we suggested that President Bush apologize for using these claims to help win Americans' support for the invasion of Iraq. We did not really expect that to happen. But we were surprised by the depth and ferocity of the administration's capacity for denial. President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have not only brushed aside the panel's findings and questioned its expertise, but they are also trying to rewrite history.

Mr. Bush said the 9/11 panel had actually confirmed his contention that there were "ties" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. He said his administration had never connected Saddam Hussein to 9/11. Both statements are wrong.

Before the war, Mr. Bush spoke of far more than vague "ties" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. He said Iraq had provided Al Qaeda with weapons training, bomb-making expertise and a base in Iraq. On Feb. 8, 2003, Mr. Bush said that "an Al Qaeda operative was sent to Iraq several times in the late 1990's for help in acquiring poisons and gases." The 9/11 panel's report, as well as news articles, indicate that these things never happened.

Mr. Cheney said yesterday that the "evidence is overwhelming" of an Iraq-Qaeda axis and that there had been a "whole series of high-level contacts" between them. The 9/11 panel said a senior Iraqi intelligence officer made three visits to Sudan in the early 1990's, meeting with Osama bin Laden once in 1994. It said Osama bin Laden had asked for "space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded." The panel cited reports of further contacts after Osama bin Laden returned to Afghanistan in 1996, but said there was no working relationship. As far as the public record is concerned, then, Mr. Cheney's "longstanding ties" amount to one confirmed meeting, after which the Iraq government did not help Al Qaeda. By those standards, the United States has longstanding ties to North Korea.

Mr. Bush has also used a terrorist named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Mr. Bush used to refer to Mr. Zarqawi as a "senior Al Qaeda terrorist planner" who was in Baghdad working with the Iraqi government. But the director of central intelligence, George Tenet, told the Senate earlier this year that Mr. Zarqawi did not work with the Hussein regime, nor under the direction of Al Qaeda.

When it comes to 9/11, someone in the Bush administration has indeed drawn the connection to Iraq: the vice president. Mr. Cheney has repeatedly referred to reports that Mohamed Atta met in Prague in April 2001 with an Iraqi intelligence agent. He told Tim Russert of NBC on Dec. 9, 2001, that this report has "been pretty well confirmed." If so, no one seems to have informed the C.I.A., the Czech government or the 9/11 commission, which said it did not appear to be true. Yet Mr. Cheney cited it, again, on Thursday night on CNBC.

Mr. Cheney said he had lots of documents to prove his claims. We have heard that before, but Mr. Cheney always seems too pressed for time or too concerned about secrets to share them. Last September, Mr. Cheney's adviser, Mary Matalin, explained to The Washington Post that Mr. Cheney had access to lots of secret stuff. She said he had to "tiptoe through the land mines of what's sayable and not sayable" to the public, but that "his job is to connect the dots."

The message, if we hear it properly, is that when it comes to this critical issue, the vice president is not prepared to offer any evidence beyond the flimsy-to-nonexistent arguments he has used in the past, but he wants us to trust him when he says there's more behind the screen. So far, when it comes to Iraq, blind faith in this administration has been a losing strategy.

Talking Points Memo

The New Republic's Spencer Ackerman, writing as a guest blogger on TalkingPointsMemo.com, June 18, 2004.

What did the 9/11 Commission actually say about Iraq-al Qaeda connections? And what did the Bush administration actually say about them? An e-mail sent out from the White House Office of Public Liaison titled,"TALKING POINTS: 9-11 Commission Staff Report Confirmes Administration's Views of al-Qaeda/Iraq Ties" claims:

A 9-11 Commission staff report supports the Bush Administration's longstanding conclusion that there was no evidence of" collaboration" between al-Qaeda on the 9-11 attacks against the United States. The Administration has never suggested that Iraq" collaborated" or" cooperated" with al-Qaeda to carry out the 9-11 attacks.

And indeed, as the, uh, talking points memo notes, President Bush stated that"We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with ... September 11th." Of course, what the memo quickly adds is that he said that on September 17, 2003. And what it leaves out entirely is why he said that on September 17, 2003. It was in response to this:

MR. RUSSERT: The Washington Post asked the American people about Saddam Hussein, and this is what they said: 69 percent said he was involved in the September 11 attacks. Are you surprised by that?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I think it’s not surprising that people make that connection.

MR. RUSSERT: But is there a connection?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We don’t know. You and I talked about this two years ago. I can remember you asking me this question just a few days after the original attack. At the time I said no, we didn’t have any evidence of that. Subsequent to that, we’ve learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the ’90s, that it involved training, for example, on BW and CW, that al-Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems that are involved. The Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaeda organization.

We know, for example, in connection with the original World Trade Center bombing in ’93 that one of the bombers was Iraqi, returned to Iraq after the attack of ’93. And we’ve learned subsequent to that, since we went into Baghdad and got into the intelligence files, that this individual probably also received financing from the Iraqi government as well as safe haven.

Now, is there a connection between the Iraqi government and the original World Trade Center bombing in ’93? We know, as I say, that one of the perpetrators of that act did, in fact, receive support from the Iraqi government after the fact. With respect to 9/11, of course, we’ve had the story that’s been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack, but we’ve never been able to develop anymore of that yet either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it. We just don’t know.

Despite not having a shred of evidence, Dick Cheney not only floated the prospect of Saddam sponsoring 9/11, but Saddam being behind the 1993 World Trade Center attacks--which Paul Wolfowitz also referenced on Good Morning America for the second anniversary of 9/11. (Hey Dick: Let's see the evidence on that one, too.) The ensuing media outrage at this blatant dishonesty was what prompted Bush to set the record straight(er).

Let's not stop there. The White House memo continues:

The Administration has said, however, that it was worried about a number of contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda, including contacts between senior Iraqi intelligence officers and senior members of al-Qaeda.

This is what the 9/11 Commission actually said:

A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Laden in 1994. Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded. There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda also occurred after Bin Laden 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. [Emphasis added]

So for the White House memo to be conveying truthful information, the Bush administration would need to have followed up any references to" contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda" with reminders that the intelligence community saw no indication that those contacts were fruitful--and that in some cases entreaties were apparently rebuffed. Did they say that?

On October 7, 2002, in a televised, primetime speech on the threat from Iraq, President Bush said:

We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America. Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists.

Two weeks earlier, in a press conference with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe he said:

The war on terror, you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror.

Any given day.You can't distinguish between al-Qaeda and Saddam. (For more administration assertions of the dubious link between Iraq and al-Qaeda, check out the IRAQ'D mixtape sweepstakes.) If the American people mistakenly think Saddam is tied to 9/11, it's not surprising. On that count, I think I agree with Dick Cheney.




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Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Kindly provide full fledged citations documenting what the NYT knew, when they knew it, and what any of this proves about Al Qaeda being any more linked to Saddam than Osama was to the CIA. Navel-gazing discussions trying to parse the phrase full-fledged, just waste everyone's time.


andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Mr. Moshe:

Doesn't the receiver of information bear any responsibility to assure that what they think is being said, is actually being said? Not to insult but this lack of responsibility is in line with the liberal, entitlement philosophy that "others" that have caused their pain, never themselves. (a paramount difference between Reps and Dems)

When you say, "every fact that the administration said regarding this particular matter was correct". I don't see how anything following is material. What better standard do we have than "facts"? Certainly not "impressions."

The statement, "My charge is that "there was a deliberate campaign to create guilt by association" ultimately is yours, and the media’s, opinion. Not that you are to be condemned for that, all have their bias' (for the media however, it is crossing the line).

In the end it is disingenuous for the anti Bush crowd to assert that, "whether there was a deliberate campaign to create guilt by association is difficult to say." In fact it is doing the same thing that Bush detractors accuse the administration of, which is, to implicate guilt by association.


andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Mr. Moshe,

You raise an interesting point, which is if I am not mistaken, that anyone capable of being manipulated when the truth could be sought after deserve what they get.

Unfortunately, in the real world caveat emptor is the standard, except in cases of children, mentally handicapped, and others that cannot protect themselves. You know it’s true. Think about the last time you bought something, or did your taxes.

We must have rules to organize society, rules are codified into law, violation of laws are based on fact, not opinion, not impressions. From this the societal perception of fairness springs, it can be no other way, otherwise witchhunts could again be justified based on “impressions.”

The bright line of lying is easily recognizable and punishable, (i.e. Clinton lying under oath). But as you and the media finally now admit GWB NEVER LIED. So detractors have descended to the next best thing….he deceived us. If someone is caught in a lie, then fine, go after ‘em. But before that line is crossed, the accused is innocent. Further, in this instance the whole thing is undoubtedly a political attack, everyone knows this is a red herring. Come December 2004 no one will be talking this silliness.

There has also been a great deal of research demonstrating how the truth, when properly crafted, or selectively used, can create an impression that is not truthful.

As compared to the other branches the executive’s “bully pulpit” is powerful. Still, it is especially evident right now that the extensive literature as well as U.S. Supreme Court cases on the power of the press is also justified in the acknowledgment that the press is far more powerful that the rhetorical president. Regretfully this is an inequity that we must endure in order to have a free society. Freedom of speech must be given wide latitude to discourage censorship, even for a president. You are holding him to an unattainable standard.

When you want to open the door to censorship, by claiming deception can be based on omission, or how information is structured, you are saying all people must have all the information all the time and received in the same manner as the disseminator. Cannot do. If yours were the standard everybody is always guilty of deception, pick any instance, I’ll prove it.

With respect, my opinion is not based on sheer bias, but also on a careful reading of the data. This does not mean that it is correct, but it is certainly not an uninformed opinion based on some underlining bias.

I don’t dispute that your opinion is informed. But your bias is playing a bigger part than you recognize. I too consider my opinion to be informed and I am opposite you. How can that be? Regardless of one’s information or intellect, everybody comes to a point when they declare what they support. At this point in time you are predisposed to anti Bush postures. I can tell you honestly that I am much more pro Bush today than I was 3 years ago because being a “rooter for the underdog,” I found myself forced to defend GWB when I began seeing the increasing vitriol and unfairness against our administration. Today that is my default posture.

Who are we trying to associate the administration with to imply guilt?

The opposition is associating the president with a confused, illogical, nebulous standard of “deception” to infer guilt upon him. Just as you claim he associated Saddam with WMD, OBL or whatever else to infer guilt upon him. You are doing the same thing you accuse the president of.

Hey I got a good idea, let’s strap GWB to a ducking stool and cause him to be made underwater for a term determined by it’s operator. If he floats, as we all know he will be rightfully pronounced guilty of “deception” but if he drowns let us declare that he had no deception in him at all.


andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Mr. Moshe:

1) Regardless that you think your tax accountant is, “morally accountable for misleading” you, it is you that is legally liable that your tax return is accurate.

2) If you contend that in the past 50 years presidents have always, “used their rhetoric to make the public believe something while utilizing methods of persuasion that are factually correct, but misleading,” then why is GWB’s alleged deception outstanding? Upcoming election?

3) According to the preliminary findings of the 9-11 commission the claim that you are, “suggesting that he mislead the American people into believing that there was a connection between them when he knew that no evidence supported such a contention” is patently false. The evidence SUPPORTS a connection.

4) I take it your position is that you don’t have any proof that GWB lied about an Iraq/9-11 connection yet you just think you haven’t uncovered it. Ooo that’s rich. Since you are, “not familiar with the media making such a charge” as inferring that the president lied about a Iraq/alquada connection, just google “bush lied, you will get several thousand responses.

5) Apparently misinterpreting people’s statements is a common argumentative strategy of the left. I didn’t say that war was “silly” I said the politically motivated dyslexia concerning the president’s statements is silly.

6) Come on, Clinton lied under oath his impeachment was legally justifiable. If not for a benevolent Republican congress he would have been removed from office. Don’t forget they had the goods on him. If not for the conservative actions to preserve the integrity of the executive, Clinton would be far more disgraced.

7) The unattainable standard that you are holding GWB to is that he satisfy your every insecurity and suspicion otherwise he is to be suspected of lying. Irrational.

8) Okay, the purpose of this post: “When you want to open the door to censorship, by claiming deception can be based on omission, or how information is structured, you are saying all people must have all the information all the time and received in the same manner as the disseminator. Cannot do. If yours were the standard everybody is always guilty of deception, pick any instance, I’ll prove it” is that you first complained that he is guilty by an act of omission. The only remedy to omission is 100% inclusion otherwise you can always whine that information is being deceptively withheld. Further you complained that he structured his statements to deceive. The only remedy would be that the information be communicated in exactly the same form and in the same intervals (relative to time) as it is received. Further, for you to presume to dictate the acceptable manner in which information must be disseminated to you and the public in order for that communication to be exempt from YOUR opinion of “deceptive speech,” IS CENSORSHIP. People are free in this country to communicate as they wish (barring of course some inflammatory or dangerous language). Unfortunately for you and the public you are expected to be responsible for your interpretation.

9) I’ll accept your definition that, “Deception is false representation of the facts.” Problem is that deception is also interpretive. And you are imputing deception where it doesn’t exist. It’s kind of like racism, much of the time it is alleged where it doesn’t exist. Like deception the charge is used to gain advantage by putting the accused on the defensive.

10) Finally, my reference to the ducking stool was an illustration that this “Bush lied” campaign is a WITCHHUNT.


andy mahan - 9/18/2006

The failure of the anti crowd to understand simple English is an obvious political ploy. Despite the Vice President’s clear and accurate characterization of Iraq-alquada cooperation that, “We just don’t know” the author just can’t stop himself from purposely confusing the facts and claiming, “Dick Cheney not only floated the prospect of Saddam sponsoring 9/11, but Saddam being behind the 1993 World Trade Center attacks.” This is hilarious, people who make their living reading and writing being cruelly saddled with self imposed dyslexia. The main-stream media has done all it can to misinterpret the findings of the 9-11 commission solely to discredit the current administration. The American people are now beginning to see through this shell game and the press is going to be forced to tell the unnuanced truth.
Simple question: where did anyone in this administration say that Iraq was involved in the 9-11 attack? They didn’t. When did this administration claim that there exists a link between Iraq and alquada? Plenty of times, (Salim al Ahmed, Ayman al Zawahiri, etc.). Given those indisputable truths, the fault of any misinterpretation must be born by the English challenged partisans.


andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Mr. Moshe:
I don't want to appear to be piling on, but are you aware that Mr. Lederer was quoting Vice President Cheney's statement, "we just don't know" in his earlier post? It looks like you agree with the Administration's take on the evidence. Truly, to me there has never been any confusion. The administration has always been consistent. The press and the anti's have manufactured a discrepancy where none exists. No one has ever tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the Democrats.

Concerning your earlier post, “70% of the American people suffer through some mass stupidity and simply all jumped to the same incorrect conclusion”, sad as it may be, it is probably so, though I would word it differently. Most people are ignorant of politics, and they like it that way. They are generally led around by whatever media source or individual with which they are simpatico. Further, it is not as if GWB can magically change public opinion at will. If he could I’m sure he would change the mistaken perception that Iraqis don’t want us in Iraq, and that only negative things are happening in Iraq, and that American military morale is down. But without a participating media it is very difficult.


andy mahan - 9/18/2006

What are the costs of inaction? Something the administration is intimately aware of that most of America cannot conceive of.


andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Mr. Moshe:

My concerns, and I’m sure much of the concerns of the Administration as to the “costs of inaction” are the billions of dollars lost as a result of the rapidly expanding political instability in the Middle East and the global exportation of that instability. The new global economy and the necessity that everybody be a part of that economy demands that the Middle east not be allowed to spoil the environment for the rest of the world. America is very protective of globalism. GWB recognizes that no terrorist group can be allowed. Unfortunately, terrorists have gotten sophisticated enough that they can cost the global economy billions with terror strikes or the mere perception of the potential. For the physical safety and business safety of the world environment, terrorism must be extinguished, (or at least weakened to a manageable level). GWB has forced the hand of the weak patriarchcal governments of the Middle East to stop mollifying terrorists. Iraq is only the start. We are beginning to see Saudi changed, others will follow. It is much better to bring this problem it to a head over there than to respect the rights of terrorists and react to attacks over here and eventually everywhere. Proaction is the ONLY way to address global terrorism.

I disagree with you that no one advocated inaction. There is no indication that the U.N. would not have continued to write resolution after resolution as Saddam defied them. He had already done so many times over the prior 10 years or so. The reason he was so confident was that he had beaten the U.N. at every turn and didn’t respect them. Obviously, he was wrong, oops. Our congress and the coalition were justified to put an end to Saddam’s dishonesty and cruelty to his people. Simultaneously he made an excellent example for the rest of the region.

Many people see the ousting of the Taliban commendable yet the ousting of the Baath Party unsupportable. Why? I don’t see the difference. Both were essentially the same oppressive, thieving, murderous governments. In fact, an argument can be made that Saddam was more dangerous to his own people and certainly to the region than the Taliban.

Mr. Moshe, I reject the equivalency in foreign policy argument. Foreign policy does not require that all circumstances that have a common element be treated exactly the same. It is not realistic. How we handled S. Africa or Korea or Cuba or will handle China and Iran does not have to be the same as the way we’ve handled any other nation. As an example: if Iran does not abandon its claims to developing a nuclear program (probably in exchange for being paid off as Korea’s neighbors are doing) we will be forced to take military action. Not because that is what we did in Iraq, but because under the conditions it will be necessary and appropriate.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Last go-round on this:

On 1: Your claim that I didn't ask the question about "full fledged" is literally self-contradictory: you quote the very question I asked. Somehow, you seem either to be ignoring or evading the fact that his post was obviously aimed at me (read the last line) but that it didn't address the issue I raised in the question I asked--which you have quoted, but which you bizarrely assert I didn't ask.

On 2: You're just being unresponsive here. I said Clarke deferred an answer. I don't need to "know what's on his mind" to say that. I just need to know that he didn't answer the question--which is evident to anyone who can see the page and read what is (or isn't) on it.

On 3: Looking over his post, I note that he asked for citations in the plural. Looking over your post, I note you don't address that obvious fact in any form.

On 4: This is a textbook case of begging the question. Obviously, I don't think my charges are "unfair." I think they're fair and relevant. And I haven't quite seen what is unfair or irrelevant about insisting that a person who is criticizing me respond to what I have said rather than criticize what I have said, change the subject, and insist that I now discuss the subject *he* has raised.

The absurd irony is that so far, no one has been able to answer my original question: In what way was Al Qaeda less than fully fledged in 1996 if that was the year that it declared war against the US? This question doesn't assert a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda, so Mr. Clarke's attempt to respond to it by demanding that I produce evidence of this connection is an obvious attempt to pretend that my question isn't worth asking or answering. Of course, it's an "attempt" that never spells out in so many words what it intimates with its unargued scorn. That is Mr. Clarke's modus operandi, I know, but it is not a modus operandi that I allow my interlocutors to get away with.

Maybe the next time he wants to discuss something with me--if there is a next time--he'll manage to restrict his comments to me to claims that I have actually made. Not such an unreasonable request, I think.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Nor is that the only discussion of "other channels" in the documentary record. Consider the following little passage from a long article in Section 3 of the Sunday NY Times of June 6. The bank in question is The Commercial Bank of Syria, Syria's main state-owned bank:

"Numerous transactions that may be indicative of terrorist financing and money laundering have been observed" moving through the Syrian bank's accounts, according to a Treasury Department document, adding that the transfers include several transactions "that reference a reputed financier for Osama bin Laden."

(Timothy L. O'Brien, "Lockboxes, Iraqi Loot, and a Trail to the Fed: How Regulators Traced a Hoard of US Cash," New York Times, Sunday Business Section, Section 3, p. 7).

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30615F638550C758CDDAF0894DC404482

This raises the distinct possibility that Iraq cooperated with Al Qaeda through intermediaries and at arm's length--the usual way in which covert operations take place. To dismiss such possibilities without exhausting absolutely every lead concerning them is simply moronic.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Just to clarify my last post, the transactions mentioned in the excerpt involve Iraqi government funds stolen from the UN oil-for-food program, running through Syrian bank accounts--which in turn involved transactions that reference Osama bin Laden's financier. Mind-boggling, of course, but covert operations aren't supposed to be transparent.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

My personal favorite is the claim that Al Qaeda was not "fully fledged" in 1996--the year that bin Laden issued his fatwa openly declaring war on the United States.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Not sure what the inconsistency is supposed to be here. One can consistently (indeed, easily) assert that The Times is biased--and that the Times contains the very information one needs to show that it's biased. It's a big newspaper and there tends to be a lot in it.

It's not "useless" as a source for news, but it is flawed. I've used NY Times examples because it's the paper I get. But I have noticed the same sorts of things in the Washington Post, which is the other paper I read (though not as carefully or as often).

You ask, "What has the Times done?" Let's start small. What do you think about the Times's claim that Al Qaeda was not "full fledged" in 1996 in an article describing the connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq in 1996?


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Peter--

It's not clear to me why your idiosyncratic challenges should set the agenda of this discussion. I asked a question, and I think I'm entitled to an answer to it before you decide that it's time to change the subject. If you don't like that, maybe you should kindly find another set of interlocuters. Do YOU think Al Qaeda was NOT "fully fledged" in 1996? If you're not interested in that question, I'm not interested in your comment.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

You're wrong. The question I asked was whether Al Qaeda was or wasn't fully fledged in 1996. You deferred an answer it--he didn't address it at all. It's not obvious that he subscribes to your view. He didn't say so, and you are after all autonomous individuals. He mimicked my language, and was clearly aiming his comment at me--while evading the issue I had raised (and not even being able to address me explicitly). So he did owe me an answer before I had any obligation to address a further subject.

Incidentally, you've offered a rather charitably inaccurate summary of what he actually wrote (which I think is a necessary condition of being able to defend him). He didn't make a request satisfiable by the citation of one article. He made a request for every article pertinent to his inquiry. (Re read what he wrote and pay some attention to the plurals. Ask yourself: what WOULD satisfy that request, as stated?) Well, sorry, but I'm not his research assistant.

As for your telling me that I shouldn't have written a response, with all due respect Adam, I don't think it makes any sense whatsoever. I wrote a comment that was perfectly responsive to Lederer, but one to which Clarke addressed an irrelevant response. It's legitimate for me to demand that Clarke either respond to what *I* am saying or not respond to me (e.g., mimicking my language) at all. And I haven't said I won't entertain a response from him, so it's senseless to say I shouldn't have written a response to him. I've said I won't entertain a response *to me* that's irrelevant to what *I've* said. Am I obliged to entertain responses to things I HAVEN'T said? Or obliged to entertain research assistant-level requests for archives of information because Peter Clarke decides that I'm his unpaid info-servant? Sorry. I don't operate that way and don't see why I should.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 7/3/2004

Irfan,
I believe I have located our communications problem. It stems from your question: "What do you think about the Times's claim that Al Qaeda was not "full fledged" in 1996 in an article describing the connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq in 1996?"

I have been interpreting this question as directed against the NYT, as in, what is your opinion of the Times making that accusation. You have obviously meant it as asking whether we agree with the Times claim.

When Mr. Clarke asked for citations, I assumed that he was requesting the article, a reasonable request, and you assume that he is asking for much more that perhaps would not be reasonable to request. I think if we read over the past exchanges, things will make a little more sense. To me, then, the request for more information was a direct response to a question dealing with the Times. To you, I assume, it was an irrelevant request, having nothing to do with Al Qaeada.

Finally, your "absurd irony" (even though I find nothing either absurd nor ironic about the charge) "that so far, no one has been able to answer my original question: In what way was Al Qaeda less than fully fledged in 1996 if that was the year that it declared war against the US?"

In fact, I did address that point. In my response to Mr. Lederer, I implicated that of course it was "fully fledged" in 1996. I note that the primary article itself contains the inconsistency of calling it otherwise in 1996, when it acknowledges terrorist activities.

Perhaps the mistake was mine for intervening in an exchange that I was not a part of. It is an annoying habit, I know. In any event Irfan, I hope this post clears things up between us and I also hope that my posts did not in any way indicate a hostility for your ideas and comments, of which I hold the utmost respect for.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 7/1/2004

Irfan
1) "The question I asked was whether Al Qaeda was or wasn't fully fledged in 1996."

Looking over your posts that preceded Mr. Clarke's reply, I do not see where you ask that anywhere. Perhaps I am missing it somewhere. The rest of your point about a deferred answer to the question is moot, since as I say, I do not recall seeing you ask a question other than the one to me in which you ask: "What do you think about the Times's claim that Al Qaeda was not "full fledged" in 1996 in an article describing the connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq in 1996?" You then condemn Mr. Clarke for not answering you5r question. It is this that I have an objection to.

2) "You deferred an answer it--he didn't address it at all."

I have no idea what Mr. Clarke believes, I simply felt that your criticisms of him were unfair, given your preceding post. He did address the issue, by requesting more information, as I was waiting for before it had been provided.

3) "He didn't make a request satisfiable by the citation of one article. He made a request for every article pertinent to his inquiry. (Re read what he wrote and pay some attention to the plurals. Ask yourself: what WOULD satisfy that request, as stated?) Well, sorry, but I'm not his research assistant."

Looking over his post, without an extremely broad meaning, I see no reason why a simple citation would not have satisfied everyone involved. The article in question makes a statement and then goes back to document AQ activities in the 1990's. One need not be a research assistant to post an article that you are referring to. Furthermore, I do not believe it is Mr. Clarke that I am defending (since I have no idea what his position on this debate is). It was merely pointing out certain charges that have no basis of support. I would say the same regardless of who the author was.

4) "As for your telling me that I shouldn't have written a response, with all due respect Adam, I don't think it makes any sense whatsoever."

I was commenting, of course, to your statement that "If you're not interested in that question, I'm not interested in your comment." You imply that the post was not interested in your question. I was simply pointing out that if you really are not interested in the comment, there seems little point in responding to it merely to make charges against it that are (as I have said) unfair.

Indeed, you are not obligated to do anything, or to post anything, or to not post anything. My statement was with regards to your post, not to suggest that people can not or should not say and post whatever they want to.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/28/2004

Irfan,
I find your post to Mr. Clarke petty and unnecessary.
His point is valid, which is to request the actual citation (which Mr. Lederer was helpful enough to provide) and asking what the New York Times article has to do with the larger point of Al Qaeada-Iraq connection. He is no more trying to "set the agenda of this discussion" then anyone else on this post.

You charge: "I asked a question, and I think I'm entitled to an answer to it before you decide that it's time to change the subject" but your question was answered!

You asked:
"What do you think about the Times's claim that Al Qaeda was not "full fledged" in 1996 in an article describing the connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq in 1996?"

To which the response was that more information is needed to make a judgement on the Times.

Now you ask, "Do YOU think Al Qaeda was NOT "fully fledged" in 1996? If you're not interested in that question, I'm not interested in your comment."

With respect, if you are not interested in the comment, than you should not have responded to it. You have raised an entirely separate question, which is whether or not the organization was indeed "fully fledged." I leave that to Mr. Clarke, to whom this message was directed. I just thought I would point out the unfairness of your charges.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/28/2004

Thank you for the citation. I have no idea why the NYT choose to use those words, but the full article at least provided some context for me to view it. Later, the article elaborates, saying:

"At the time of the contacts described in the Iraqi document, Mr. bin Laden was little known beyond the world of national security experts. It is now thought that his associates bombed a hotel in Yemen used by American troops bound for Somalia in 1992. Intelligence officials also believe he played a role in training Somali fighters who battled Army Rangers and Special Operations forces in Mogadishu during the "Black Hawk Down" battle of 1993."
...
"The document details a time before any of the spectacular anti-American terrorist strikes attributed to Al Qaeda: the two American Embassy bombings in East Africa in 1998, the strike on the destroyer Cole in Yemeni waters in 2000, and the Sept. 11 attacks."

It would seem that one need not go fat to discover an inconsistancy here. It is located in the article itself.


John H. Lederer - 6/28/2004

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/25/politics/25TERR.html?hp=&pagewanted=all&position


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/26/2004

I have no intention of defendnig the New York Times (although I am still not entirely sure what they have done- thus far, I have only seen editorial statements and references to articles that I have not read).

In any event, why is the Times somehow used as a surrogate for "the media?" What the about the Washington Post, the New York Post, the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, or the most widely circulated paper in the United States, USA Today?

You may think the New York Times is bias, and indeed tells pure fiction, and you might be right. I just seem to notice how NYT articles are used both to support a position (since it has been cited on this post to do just that) as well as an example of how bad the media are.

Just thought I would point it out. If the Times is useless as a source for news, it means nothing about "the media." It means only something about the New York Times.


John H. Lederer - 6/25/2004

I think we are in the process of discovering that the editors of the New York Times don't read the paper...


John H. Lederer - 6/25/2004

Adam -- we agree -- "still to be proven" summarizes my own view point. Of course the reasons are probably a bit different.


To my mind the key justification for Iraq is what its effect on the Middle East as a whole will be. And that is very much "still to be proven".


John H. Lederer - 6/25/2004

I am just astounded by the revelation today that the NYT had in its possession for weeks a document that appears to support the administration's claims about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The hypocrisy of an editorial saying:
======================

Mr. Cheney said he had lots of documents to prove his claims. We have heard that before, but Mr. Cheney always seems too pressed for time or too concerned about secrets to share them. Last September, Mr. Cheney's adviser, Mary Matalin, explained to The Washington Post that Mr. Cheney had access to lots of secret stuff. She said he had to "tiptoe through the land mines of what's sayable and not sayable" to the public, but that "his job is to connect the dots."

The message, if we hear it properly, is that when it comes to this critical issue, the vice president is not prepared to offer any evidence beyond the flimsy-to-nonexistent arguments he has used in the past, but he wants us to trust him when he says there's more behind the screen. So far, when it comes to Iraq, blind faith in this administration has been a losing strategy.
=============================================

at the same time that the NYT had one of those documents and chose not to reveal it is beyond the pale.


The article today in which the NYT reveals the document is Clintonesque. Timelines are muddled to make it appear less
contradictory of the NYT than it is, the story itself is self contradictory, and we have a fine parsing of words to minimize the contradictions-- apparently Al Qaeda is not really a "full fledged terrorist organization until it is involved in "spectacular" anti-american attacks -- the unsuccessful 1993 attack on the WTC was not apparently, sufficiently spectacular.



People have had a lot of cognitive dissonance of late. What the media says, what the media says the government says, and what the governement says have been at pretty dramatic odds. One or the other is going to end up being "shut out" as a source of information because the public is going to conclude that it deceives. I used to think it would be Bush. I suspect now it is going to be the media.

That is going to have a lot of unintended consequences which depending on your viewpoint may be very unfortunate. One I suspect will be that Kerry and many democrats will go down with the media.


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/25/2004

The NY Times is reporting, this morning, on a document that it says the commission might not have had access to. The story reports:

"At the meeting, Mr. bin Laden requested that sermons of an anti-Saudi cleric be rebroadcast in Iraq. That request, the document states, was approved by Baghdad."

Good thing they didn't have a collaborative relationship, right?

The Times story also reports:

"At that point, Iraqi intelligence officers began "seeking other channels through which to handle the relationship, in light of his current location," the document states."

Hmm. An Iraqi document talking about other channels through which to handle "the relationship" -- interesting word there, relationship.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/25/2004

Mr. Lederer,
Thank you for the clarifications. While I still believe the claims are wrong and just as damning, putting them into context certainly helps.

To me, support for the war in Iraq and support for President Bush's justification for the war need not be contradictory. There really was a humanitarian crisis, and Iraq really was in violation of the UN. There are good grounds to defend the war itself. My problem is simply with the evidence to support the war, which (to me) have been demonstrated to be false, inaccurate, misleading, or at the very least still failed to be proven.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/25/2004

While I certainly don't agree with your tone, you are right.

I would also strongly recommend the website http://www.factcheck.org. The site has no endorcements and I believe it to be fair and equal in its targeting.

http://www.factcheck.org/article.aspx?docID=187
http://www.factcheck.org/article.aspx?docID=186
http://www.factcheck.org/article.aspx?docID=177
http://www.factcheck.org/article.aspx?docID=173
http://www.factcheck.org/article.aspx?docID=155


John H. Lederer - 6/25/2004

Adam,

perhaps you prove my point?

I followed up the Scott McClellan and Dan Bartlett quotes since they were the ones that used "imminent threat".
The McClellan quote isn't about Iraq being an imminent threat to the US, but Turkey requesting NATO aid because it faced an imminent threat because the about to start hostilities in Itaq threatened to embroil Turkey:


"QUESTION: What about NATO's role? Belgium now says it will veto any attempt to provide help to Turkey to defend itself. Is this something the administration can live with, or is it a major obstacle?

MR. McCLELLAN: Two points. We support the request under Article IV of Turkey. And I think it's important to note that the request from a country under Article IV that faces an imminent threat goes to the very core of the NATO alliance and its purpose.

QUESTION: What can you do about this veto threat?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, I think what's important to remind NATO members, remind the international community is that this type of request under Article IV goes to the core of the NATO alliance.

QUESTION: Is this some kind of ultimate test of the alliance?

MR. McCLELLAN: This is about an imminent threat.

QUESTION: Who's going to do the reminding to NATO?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I just made some comments regarding that and, obviously, we will work through NATO, as well."


The Bartlett quote is more ambiguous and i think could be called an administration use of the prahse imminent threat in regard to Iraq, though the situation is cloudy because it also refers to "American interests" and because Bartlett evokesthe idea of "we can't let it become an imminent threat"

BLITZER: But the question is, he's a threat based on what the information you're suggesting, to his own people, to his neighbors.

But is he an imminent threat to U.S. interests, either in that part of the world or to Americans right here at home?

BARTLETT: Well, of course he is. He has made it very clear his hatred for the United States of America. He's made it very clear through the past years and since he's been in power his desire to dominate the region.

And as he acquires these weapons, particularly if he were to get a nuclear weapon, it would change the game in the entire world if Saddam Hussein, based on his past, based on his history of aggression, to acquire the type of weapons and then potentially to marry up with terrorists so he wouldn't have the finger prints, is a scenario that we can't afford to take.

BLITZER: But you're saying there is evidence that he would do that, he would provide some of those weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons, biological weapons, to known terrorist organizations?

BARTLETT: The history is clear. He has them, he's used them in the past on his own people and on invading, in invading other countries, he has a relationship, his regime has had a relationship with terrorist organizations throughout his tenure, particularly with al Qaeda, as well.

This is the type of scenario we can't afford to wait until the last minute. We cannot let this threat materialize to the point where there's nothing we can do about it.


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/25/2004

Oops. I had to come back for this one. Gore cites the investigation as saying that there was no "meaningful relationship" -- they actually said no evidence of collaboration. Of course, Richard Clarke said otherwise -- he said they collaborated on the pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan. So what we have is a slow slide from talking about a lack of evidence of collaboration on 9/11, to a lack of collaboration period (refuted by Clarke, Clinton, and Clinton's federal attorney in NY, Mary Joe White), to talk of a lack of a meaningful relationship, to -- and this is the fun part -- the claim that there was no relationship at all!! Yeah, the Al Gore slide:

"...if Iraq had nothing to do with the attack or the organization that attacked us ..."

Nothing to do with the organization al Qaeda? But even the staff statements don't say that. Slick Willie. Slick Al.


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/25/2004

Al "the Bore" Gore enters the fray. I just read the transcript of his speech -- classic Gore. The cliched references to the Founding Fathers, the reference to a Supreme Court case, the excursions into Greek and Roman history -- Al Gore the pedantic pseudo-intellectual at his usual standard. But here's the catch:

"But now the extensive independent investigation by the bipartisan commission formed to study the 9/11 attacks has just reported that there was no meaningful relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda of any kind."

Talk about artful. He doesn't say the commission reports. He says the investigation reports. I wasn't aware that an investigation was the kind of entity that can report. In fact, I'm rather sure that an investigation is metaphysically limited to, well, investigating. Why this strange "categoty mistake" (to borrow an expression from Gilbert Ryle)? It's quite simple: the Commission hasn't reported anything. Those were staff statements, not endorsed by the Commission. As Commissioner Bob Kerrey put it, we (the Commissioners) don't have anything to do with that.

But Gore (as always) goes on:

"And that's understandable, because if Iraq had nothing to do with the attack or the organization that attacked us, then that means the President took us to war when he didn't have to."

Earth to Gore: we didn't invoke the self-defense articles of the UN charter when we went into Iraq. We cited UN Security Council resolutions. Had we proof that Iraq had collaborated, we would have cited the self-defense articles. We didn't cite the self-defense articles, therefore we didn't have proof of collaboration on 9/11. Modus Tollens, the contrapositive. Tomorrow, Al, a lesson on football. A sneak preview of tomorrow's lesson: "This, Al, is a football. Am I going to fast for you?"


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/25/2004

Mr. Mahan
1) "Regardless that you think your tax accountant is, “morally accountable for misleading” you, it is you that is legally liable that your tax return is accurate."

Of course.

2) "If you contend that in the past 50 years presidents have always, “used their rhetoric to make the public believe something while utilizing methods of persuasion that are factually correct, but misleading,” then why is GWB’s alleged deception outstanding? Upcoming election?"

I do not believe I made that claim that it is outstanding, although I do believe that the consequences of going to war with Iraq is a little more consequential than a healthcare bill, or some other piece of legislation. However, I do believe that the upcoming election has little to do with it. Whether it is selling a budget to Congress, or pushing for some other piece of legislation, or rallying support for a war, presidents use the tools at their disposal. My claim is a counter to the contention that the president has no moral obligation beyond being factually accurate.

3) "According to the preliminary findings of the 9-11 commission the claim that you are, “suggesting that he mislead the American people into believing that there was a connection between them when he knew that no evidence supported such a contention” is patently false. The evidence SUPPORTS a connection."

If you re-read my post, I believe it was made clear that the connection in question was between Iraq and the attacks of 9/11. Both the president as well as the 9/11 commission agreed that there was NO evidence of such a connection.

4) "I take it your position is that you don’t have any proof that GWB lied about an Iraq/9-11 connection yet you just think you haven’t uncovered it. Ooo that’s rich."

You "take it" wrongly and it has become clear to me that everything I have written since that start of this debate has been totally ignored by you. I will say it yet again, as clearly as I can: The administration mislead the American people by suggesting that Iraq was connected to the attacks of 9/11 when they knew no evidence suggested such a link. As for me thinking I haven't uncovered proof yet, I am not really sure where this statement comes from. Proof of what, I have already conceded that the deceit I have been referring to is not connected with overt lies.

4) "Since you are, “not familiar with the media making such a charge” as inferring that the president lied about a Iraq/alquada connection, just google “bush lied, you will get several thousand responses."

I suppose, if you define "the media" as every blog, newsletter, advocacy group, and partisan paper, then I take it back, they have accused Bush of lying, and Kerry, and accused both of tools as big business, murderers, and criminals. If you do not believe in any distinction between "mainstream media" and just "media," then I will simply cede the point. If you do recognize such a distinction, then that is what I was referring to.

5) "Apparently misinterpreting people’s statements is a common argumentative strategy of the left. I didn’t say that war was “silly” I said the politically motivated dyslexia concerning the president’s statements is silly."

It is sad that in your frustration, you have descended to petty insults at me in place of the logic that you have been relying on thus far. In any event, I would suggest a more careful reading of my posts before responding out of anger. Allow me to re-post what I said: "I sincerely hope that a full invasion of another country predicated on support from a population that was mistaken in its beliefs (for WHATEVER reason) will not simply be forgotten or dismissed as silliness."

In other words, my argument is that those words have caused the American people to believe something that may not have been true to influence them on deciding whether or not to support a war. You are dismissing the debate over what Bush said to justify the war as " politically motivated dyslexia," and I am refuting that claim. So you see, I never suggested that you believed that the war in Iraq was silly (why on earth would I?).


6) "Come on, Clinton lied under oath his impeachment was legally justifiable. If not for a benevolent Republican congress he would have been removed from office. Don’t forget they had the goods on him. If not for the conservative actions to preserve the integrity of the executive, Clinton would be far more disgraced."

At this point, you are simply missing what I was trying to get at. My point was not the infamous Lewinsky scandal

Once again, allow me to re-post what I said so that you might understand my point: "you will hear liberals attacked for misleading the American people about something. Certainly, there is 8 years of commentary and accusations about Clinton. It is easy to dwell on the Lewinsky scandal because he actually lied, but in fact the accusations of misleading were continuous. In most cases, they were also accurate." I hope we are clear on what I am getting at? You accused me of holding Bush to too high a standard, and I responded that I hold him to same standard that Clinton was held to for 8 years.

However. since you brought the subject up, your memory of history is (to say the least) inaccurate. Conservatives hated Bill Clinton just as much as liberals hate Bush. Clinton was impeached on two counts, grand jury perjury (228–206) and obstruction of justice (221–212), with the votes split along party lines. The Senate Republicans, however, were unable to gather enough support to achieve the two-thirds majority required for his conviction. On Feb. 12, 1999, the Senate acquitted President Clinton on both counts. The perjury charge failed by a vote of 55–45, with 10 Republicans voting against impeachment along with all 45 Democrats. The obstruction of justice vote was 50–50, with 5 Republicans breaking ranks to vote against impeachment. So you see, my friend, your theory about conservative integrity for the office flies in the face of the entire proceedings.
http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/resources/1998/tracking.poll/

7) "The unattainable standard that you are holding GWB to is that he satisfy your every insecurity and suspicion otherwise he is to be suspected of lying. Irrational."

You are right, that is irrational. It is also a straw man fallacy. You are accusing me of making an argument that I never made, and then are criticizing me for that argument. As I have said (many times) my standards are no different from that of every other president. It goes something like this: If you present an argument, while omitting certain relevant facts, and framing it in such a way as it leads people to logically come to an incorrect conclusion, you are being deceptive. What you have described can only be called extreme, to say the least, and I have never advocated it.

8) "you first complained that he is guilty by an act of omission. The only remedy to omission is 100% inclusion otherwise you can always whine that information is being deceptively withheld."

Your logical is flawed. You make the giant leap that 100% inclusion necessitated all information. This is not the case at all. The inclusion must be those facts that, if absent, will fundamentally alter the conclusion your audience comes to.

Allow me to give you an example: I tell you that Bill Clinton was hated by Republicans, won the presidential election of 1996, and then the Republicans decided to impeach him so that he would no longer be president. Am I lying? Of course not, but I am leaving out the fact that he lied under oath. Now would including that fact lead to a different conclusion as to why the Republicans impeached Bill Clinton? Of course. Did that necessitate that I also include the sorid details of the affair, and names of all Congressmen, the weight and height of Bill Clinton? No, that would be absurd and irrelevant to the point.

8) "Further you complained that he structured his statements to deceive. The only remedy would be that the information be communicated in exactly the same form and in the same intervals (relative to time) as it is received."

At this point, your logic is not merely flawed, you are simply continuing to try and recreate my argument in order to discredit it. The remedy to someone structuring their statements to deceive is (gasp) for that person to NOT structure his statements to deceive. As for form and intervals, I am not sure where you pulled those out of?

9) "Further, for you to presume to dictate the acceptable manner in which information must be disseminated to you and the public in order for that communication to be exempt from YOUR opinion of “deceptive speech,” IS CENSORSHIP."

Huh? You must have assumed that I advocated total control of the United States media. When exactly did I presume to dictate anything to anyone? In fact, when did I presume to control what the public sees and hears? I am forced to conclude Mr. Mahan, that you have no serious interest in hearing a point of view that does not conform to your own (which is your right as an American). The charges that you have leveled against me are so far divorced from anything that I have said and hinted at, I am not really sure what you expect me to say to these wild accusations of dictation and censorship.

9) I’ll accept your definition that, “Deception is false representation of the facts.” Problem is that deception is also interpretive. And you are imputing deception where it doesn’t exist."

What an odd statement. If deception is interpretive, then how can you claim that it does not exist? Furthermore, you have taken as a matter of fact what we have been debating since the beginning of this post, that is simply "doesn't exist." Well, I believe that it does exist.

10) "Finally, my reference to the ducking stool was an illustration that this “Bush lied” campaign is a WITCHHUNT."

Witchhunts usually connote that a person is being attacked or condemned as a part of a systematic campaign absent any legitimate reason. I am "attacking" Bush, if you will, for legitimate reasons: misleading the American people when going to war. Hence, no whitchhunt is in place.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/24/2004

Mr. Lederer,
I disagree with your contentions. The article you provided was interesting and helpful, but I disagree with those conclusions as well. In fact, the new press secretary also called Iraq and immediate threat to the United States, as did Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on Face the Nation.

However, frankly, I believe that all of these semantic games being played are foolish and miss the point. The reason we went to war with Iraq was because we were told that Saddam Hussein was a threat to America (THAT Bush DID say), and this was repeated in some form or another for whatever reason. This threat was not in the next century, or the next decade, it was soon enough that we could not wait for inspections or anything else, we had to act. I find the repeated denial of this fact and continuous dwelling on word choice to be rather, in a word, frustrating.

It is the same point with the 9/11 connection. You are mistake when you say that opponents accuse Bush of justifying the war based on Iraq's 9/11 connection. They do not. They accuse him of implicating Iraq in 9/11 to boost support, but their primary rationale was Iraq's WMD arsenal and the threat it posed to the United States sometime in the very near future, another issue in which I believe the administration has lied to the American people about, and another issue for which war supporters will simply deny, I would speculate, for a long long time to come.

However, arguments about the war inevitably branch off into several different directions which lead eventually to going through every statement, in every speech before the war and then arguing that when the administration says that Iraq is "a serious threat to our country," "a threat to any American," "serious and growing threat," they really didn't mean NOW. They meant, you know, maybe sometime in the unforeseen future. I reject this argument. When the administration spoke of imminent, they were speaking of it in terms of the rockets being in the air on the way here! Hence, we could not wait until the attack is imminent. When you are I are discussing this, and when other members of the administration were speaking about it, they were talking about the idea that Iraq has the capability to harm the United States at any time (and let me just say before the attack begins, this is JUST MY opinion, and no, I can't read minds).

Now, I don't blame Republicans for making this argument. For 8 years, liberals did the same, sifting through quotes to "prove" that Clinton was technically telling the truth (at the time, 1/4 of all American believed that "sexual relations" means intercourse remember, and thus he never lied- so went the liberal argument). Of course, they were wrong then to defend a man who clearly lied, if not in words then certainly in intent, both in the Lewinsky scandal and in many other instances. It was partisan blindness in defense of their guy in the extreme. I by no means implicate anyone on this post, or to implicate you, Mr. Lederer, as I have found all of your arguments thus far to be concise and intelligent, however, I seem to see the exact same refusal at critical appraisal of the administration from Republicans today.

Furthermore, I do not blame people (such as yourself) that supported the war for entirely rational reasons and maintain that support. However, I do blame those people who support the war primarily because they do not want Bush to look bad or deceitful, and they themselves to not want to explore the possibility that they may have been mistaken, a difficult thing to do for anyone and one that I applaud Bill O'Reily for acceptin (http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/163375p-143201c.html).



"No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."
-- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/19/02
http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=24970
http://www.toehold.com/~kyle/k5/rumsfeld.html

"Saddam Hussein is a threat to America."
-- President Bush, 11/3/02
"The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency."
-- President Bush, 10/2/02
"There's a grave threat in Iraq. There just is."
-- President Bush, 10/2/02
"This man poses a much graver threat than anybody could have possibly imagined."
-- President Bush, 9/26/02
"This is about imminent threat."
-- White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 2/10/03
"Well, of course he is.”
-- White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett responding to the question “is Saddam an imminent threat to U.S. interests, either in that part of the world or to Americans right here at home?”, 1/26/03


John H. Lederer - 6/24/2004

"(although for the record, the administration DID use the words imminent threat, just not the president himself)".

In regard to Iraq? Adam with due respect you show the lasting impression a much repeated distortion makes.


I suggest you review:

http://www.spinsanity.org/columns/20031103.html
and in addition follow the link to Ari Fleischer's "Absolutely" and conclude for yourself whether he is responding to "these [weapons]..." or "imminent threat".

I think the example is more apposite than we may have thought. As you recall during the Iraq resolution a number of Democrats said that the United states could not act unless there was an "imminent threat". The administration and its political allies expressly denied this, saying that waiting till the threat was imminent would be too late.

A year later the same Democrats who lost the debate were insisting that the administration had said there was an "imminent threat". It is a good example of one side insisting that the other side must have argued what they thought the other side had to argue, rather than what they actually said. Is the psychological term "projection"?

It's as if you say "if it is meat we should eat it, if not we shouldn't", I reply "it's soy bean curd". We eat it. and later, you contend that I must have said it was meat.

Something similar seems to have occured. opponents said "we should only invade Iraq if it was responsible for 9/11", the Bush Administartion said "No , it doesn't have to be linked to 9/11, it is enough that it is a state that supports terrorists". Now three years later opponents insist that the Bushies said Iraq was cooperatively responsible for 9/11.

As for the 70% --I suspect most see gobs of motive, a few pieces of evidence, and think it likely.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/24/2004

> > A woman in a hot air balloon realizes she is lost so
> > she lowers her altitude
> > and spots a man in a boat below. She shouts to him,
> > "Excuse me, can you help
> > me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour
> > ago, but I don't know where
> > I am."
> >
> > The man consults his portable GPS and replies,
> > "You're in a hot air balloon
> > approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of
> > 2346 feet above sea level.
> > You are 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and
> > 100 degrees, 49.09
> > minutes west longitude."
> >
> > She rolls her eyes and says, "You must be a
> > Republican." " I am," replies
> > the man. "How did you know?"
> >
> > "Well," answers the balloonist, "everything you told
> > me is technically
> > correct, but I have no idea what to make of your
> > information, and I'm still
> > lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."
> >
> > The man smiles and responds, "You must be a
> > Democrat." "I am," replies the
> > balloonist. "How did you know?"
> >
> > "Well," says the man, "you don't know where you are
> > or where you're going.
> > You've risen to where you are due to a large
> > quantity of hot air. You made a
> > promise that you have no idea how to keep, and you
> > expect ME to solve your
> > problem. You're in EXACTLY the same position you
> > were in before we met,
> > but...
> >
> >
> > somehow, now it's MY fault!


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/24/2004

Actually, you are correct, this issue is very much like that since what is being debated is the impression the administration gave the American people, and not what exact words did the administration say (although for the record, the administration DID use the words imminent threat, just not the president himself).

As for the rest of your post and the reasons you believe that Iraq was involved in 9/11, they are all valid and I have no intention of refuting them, only to say that based on my own analysis of the evidence, I do not find such a connection likely. Nevertheless, I appreciate your arguments and your ability to express them fairly and thoughtfully.

As for the 70% figure, it is entirely possible that most or all of those people did their own independent investigations and decided, as you have, that the evidence suggests Iraqi culpability in the attacks. However, I do not believe that. I believe that many people believed in a connection because the administration gave them information that pointed to a connection, even without explicitly saying so. The media certainly made no attempt to question the poll, or to do anything that might challenge it, and it was not until after the war that Bush explicitly denied any evidence suggesting a link to the attacks. I do not claim to speak for anyone, but all of my conservative friends believed in a link until Bush came out publicly and denied evidence to it. For everyone I know, in other words, Bush's confession of the situation made a HUGE difference.

Of course, (unrelated to this post) sadly, this issue seems to fall on purely partisan lines from what I can observe. Although not directed at you or anyone else on this site, it does seem that in the polarized political atmosphere we are living in, both sides seem unable to come to any kind of consensus on this war, the reasons for it, and whether it was worth it. Any attempt to point out legitimate concerns about what may have been said or not said it met with fierce resistance by one side and eager giddiness on the other.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/24/2004

1) "Unfortunately, in the real world caveat emptor is the standard, except in cases of children, mentally handicapped, and others that cannot protect themselves. You know it’s true. Think about the last time you bought something, or did your taxes."

If I took my taxes to an accountant, and the accountant left out crucial information to me, I believe that accountant is morally accountable for misleading me into believing that I had done my taxes correctly. Let us assume that everything he did say was factually accurate. In the real world, people listen to the president and take impressions just as surely as facts. If you dispute this, that is fine, but I cannot think of any time in the past 50 years in which presidents have not used their rhetoric to make the public believe something while utilizing methods of persuasion that are factually correct, but misleading.

2) "We must have rules to organize society, rules are codified into law, violation of laws are based on fact, not opinion, not impressions. From this the societal perception of fairness springs, it can be no other way, otherwise witchhunts could again be justified based on “impressions.”

Perhaps you have me wrong. I am not suggesting that Bush committed a legal offense, that he should be impeached or that he committed a crime regarding his statements about Iraq's connections to 9/11. I am suggesting that he mislead the American people into believing that there was a connection between them when he knew that no evidence supported such a contention.

3) "The bright line of lying is easily recognizable and punishable, (i.e. Clinton lying under oath). But as you and the media finally now admit GWB NEVER LIED."

I am afraid I will not admit such a claim, as I do not believe it. At issue here is Bush's claims regarding Iraq's connection to the 9/1 attacks. My arguments here do not go beyond that at this time. In fact, I do believe that Bush has lied, on many occasions, about many different things, including other reasons for the war in Iraq. I am simply saying that in THIS instance, I have not seen any evidence to demonstrate that he lied. Furthermore, you imply (if I may use a word that is clearly in dispute) that I or the media once said that Bush did claim Iraq was connected to 9/11. I am not familiar with the media making such a charge.

4) "So detractors have descended to the next best thing….he deceived us. If someone is caught in a lie, then fine, go after ‘em. But before that line is crossed, the accused is innocent. Further, in this instance the whole thing is undoubtedly a political attack, everyone knows this is a red herring. Come December 2004 no one will be talking this silliness."

I sincerely hope that a full invasion of another country predicated on support from a population that was mistaken in its beliefs (for WHATEVER reason) will not simply be forgotten or dismissed as silliness. People have been killed, governments changed, and American security affected one way or another because of this war. You may think that the fact people may have been misled, or at least mistaken about the reasons for war are "silly," I do not. Also, since when have policy leaders been assumed innocent without proof? For 8 years, Bill Clinton was accused of just about every crime he could be accused of. He got impeached for one of them, the rest went nowhere, and yet I do not remember anyone complaining that he was innocent until proven guilty. We are not in a courtroom, and politics is not about legal technicalities. If Bush wins or loses this November, I am fairly certain it will not because of any legal analysis about his behavior.

5) "the press is far more powerful that the rhetorical president. Regretfully this is an inequity that we must endure in order to have a free society. Freedom of speech must be given wide latitude to discourage censorship, even for a president. You are holding him to an unattainable standard."

I disagree. I believe I am holding him to the only standard that an elected leader should have, which is to be forward and honest with the American people. There are few who dispute this. Do a google search, read a conservative editorial, or listen to AM talk radio, and you will heard liberals attacked for misleading the American people about something. Certainly, there is 8 years of commentary and accusations about Clinton. It is easy to dwell on the Lewinsky scandal because he actually lied, but in fact the accusations of misleading were continuous. In most cases, they were also accurate.

6) "When you want to open the door to censorship, by claiming deception can be based on omission, or how information is structured, you are saying all people must have all the information all the time and received in the same manner as the disseminator. Cannot do. If yours were the standard everybody is always guilty of deception, pick any instance, I’ll prove it."

I am afraid I do not understand this portion of your post. What does censorship have to do with anything? Also, why would people need all information all the time, and in the same manner? I don't understand. Perhapsd you can clarify what it is you are accusing me of advocating.

7) "But your bias is playing a bigger part than you recognize. I too consider my opinion to be informed and I am opposite you. How can that be?"

You do not believe that two informed people can come to opposite conclusions? I would say that the authors of the Federalist Papers were just as informed as the authors of the Anti-Federalist papers. If your conclusion is that one of us must be wrong, I do not agree. Furthermore, it goes without saying that any calls of bias has no bearing, since I think it is safe to say that we both consider the others biases play a part in their interpretation of the data. The only way to really know is consistency. If John Kerry wins, and you have no problem with him giving people the wrong impression while being factually correct, then I will applaud your consistency.

8) "The opposition is associating the president with a confused, illogical, nebulous standard of “deception” to infer guilt upon him. Just as you claim he associated Saddam with WMD, OBL or whatever else to infer guilt upon him. You are doing the same thing you accuse the president of."

Actually, I consider my standard of deception to be quite clear and accepted everywhere I have ever seen the term. However, since you seem to find my usage " confused, illogical, nebulous," allow me to make it more explicit:

Deception is false representation of the facts. That is the manner in which I am using the term. To put it another way, a person can deceive by presenting the facts in such a way as they logically lead to an incorrect conclusion. Had I know that the term was being understood in such an uncertain way, I would have defined it at the outset.

Also, we are not talking about WMD. If you would like to open up the debate on what Bush said Iraq had, I have no objection, but I don't know if that was your intent in the above statement.

9) "Hey I got a good idea, let’s strap GWB to a ducking stool and cause him to be made underwater for a term determined by it’s operator. If he floats, as we all know he will be rightfully pronounced guilty of “deception” but if he drowns let us declare that he had no deception in him at all."

Obviously you are being facetious, but I am really not sure what the point of the statement is? Perhaps it is to say that asking people to be avoid using statements that lead audiences to accept a false conclusion is an unfair request from the president of the United States.


John H. Lederer - 6/24/2004

This seems like another "imminent threat" issue to me.

The Bush administratiuon did not say it. The opponents think they should have because it fits their view of what the other side should have said. Therefore they said it. and when they deny saying it, they are either lying or engaging in a calculated program to imply it while maintaining deniability.


I wasn't misled by the Bush administration. I disagree with them.

I think there was more likely than not Iraq support for 9/11 though I would definitely label my view "uncertain". Why do I think that? Because I don't believe that Samon Pak was for training Iraqis on how to oppose highjackers. Because no one seems able to explain Atta's prior trips to Prague or his withdrawal of $8000 immediately before the hypothesized trip. Because it fits my view of Saddam's animosity towards the U.S.

So I guess I am in the 70%-- but not because Bush misled me.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/24/2004

Mr. Mahan,
You raise an interesting point, which is if I am not mistaken, that anyone capable of being manipulated when the truth could be sought after deserve what they get.

However, the literature on the president’s power to persuade is extensive. The “rhetorical presidency,” the “bully pulpit” and various other studies have been conducted and demonstrate time and time again that presidents can and do influence the public by their words and actions more than any other government actor. There has also been a great deal of research demonstrating how the truth, when properly crafted, or selectively used, can create an impression that is not truthful.

You say that so long as information is factually correct, the president is absolved of any other responsibility and the burden is now on the public. If the American people are comfortable with that, then I hope they act responsibility and vote that way. For those Americans who believe that deception is all too possible, even in the absence of outright lies, this is a serious matter. Deception need not be factual, but can be based on omission of fact as well, or how the facts are selectively put together.

The simple matter is that sadly, most Americans do not follow politics closely, and do not research what public figures say and do all the time. This is a truism in much of the world, and always has been. So to answer your question, yes people need to be informed, but no, being informed does not necessitate cross checking data when you trust the president of the United States to be forthcoming and honest. In other words, in short, the obligation of the president is not simply to be factual correct, but for the overall message to be honest as well.

You say, “What better standard do we have than "facts"? Certainly not "impressions." Why not impressions? Do you dispute the fact that the president (or any public figure) is capable is giving an impression without being factually inaccurate?

To address some specific points you make:
1) “Not to insult but this lack of responsibility is in line with the liberal, entitlement philosophy that "others" that have caused their pain, never themselves. (a paramount difference between Reps and Dems).”

You are mistaken. Part of the liberal philosophy is that people must take responsibility for their actions, and that includes presidents. Bush ran his campaign with the slogan, “I trust the American people.” Perhaps it should have been, “what I tell the American people should be enough to absolve me of any conclusions they may come to.” Finally, I find your comments to effectively eliminate the debate over the so-called liberal media bias. If you are correct, than the media should not be criticized in any way for being bias (of course, evidence of outright lies are excluded from my point) since the American people have to take full responsibility of analyzing the data themselves.

2) “The statement, "My charge is that "there was a deliberate campaign to create guilt by association" ultimately is yours, and the media’s, opinion. Not that you are to be condemned for that, all have their bias.”

With respect, my opinion is not based on sheer bias, but also on a careful reading of the data. This does not mean that it is correct, but it is certainly not an uninformed opinion based on some underlining bias.

3) “In the end it is disingenuous for the anti Bush crowd to assert that, "whether there was a deliberate campaign to create guilt by association is difficult to say." In fact it is doing the same thing that Bush detractors accuse the administration of, which is, to implicate guilt by association.”

How so? I happen to find it not only NOT disingenuous, but in fact correct. Who are we trying to associate the administration with to imply guilt? The American people? If that is the implication, then of course there is an association, since the American people get their information from, among other sources, the president of the United States.


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/24/2004

That is what passes for a correction at the NY Times. They correct their error when forced to, and take a swipe at the same time. Read up on their own reporting of the Walter Duranty issue. The guy was a servile and enthusiastic liar for Stalin, and a reporter for the Times, who denied there was a famine in the Ukraine -- a famine that killed 7 million people. He later told the British Ambassador that it was closer to 10 million. Recently, under criticism, the NY Times reviewed the case, concluding that Duranty was merely "too credulous", and Duranty's Pulitzer (won for repeating Stalin's lies) is still displayed on the wall of the entrance to the NY Times.

Interesting exercise. Since Jayson Blair, even before he was caught out the last time and fired, had a known high error rate in his reporting, it would be interesting to look back and see just how many of those errors were in the corrections section. Similarly for Maureen Dowd. As far as I know, her claim that Bush had asserted iraq would be easy, has never been the subject of a Times correction.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/23/2004

Although I am sure it is no surprise to anyone, I happen to agree with the NYTimes conclusion that "whether there was a deliberate campaign to create guilt by association is difficult to say." In fact, I will go one step farther in saying that I do believe that there was such a deliberate campaign. Furthermore, I must say that the NY Times did not conclude it, the American people did, and up to 70% in fact who believe that it was likely Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Of course, every fact that the administration said regarding this particular matter was correct, and there is nothing that anyone can say to refute that. But that is not my charge that they told lies. My charge is that "there was a deliberate campaign to create guilt by association." My evidence comes from their own statements, as well as the public reaction to them.

Of course, we will never know if this is true or not (I do not suggest that there is any memo stating it), but frankly, I find it difficult to come to any other conclusion.


John H. Lederer - 6/23/2004

Don't be silly. A responsible newspaper like the NYT would print a correction if their main editorial were based on a false representation of what Bush said.

And they have.

Go to this URL:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/20/weekinreview/20zell.html

Go to he graphic of "what they said", and get the pop up. You'll see this:

"Critics of the Bush administration argue that it falsely created a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks to help justify the war. Last week, the administration countered that it had never made such an assertion — only that there were ties, however murky, between Iraq and Al Qaeda. A survey of past public comments seems to bear that out — although whether there was a deliberate campaign to create guilt by association is difficult to say."


See, what they are saying is that Bush didn't say it, but they at the NYT concluded it, therefore they may have been misled by a deliberate campaign.


I guess I am not as sophisticated as the NYT. When Cheney says "we don't know" I sort of tend to think that what he means is "we don't know".


(As a side note, I believe the logic in all this means that the NYT is a critic of the Bush administration, but not having fallen off the turnip truck yesterday, I had sort of assumed that.)


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/23/2004

A fair and consistant analysis.


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/23/2004

You're right, they are sloppy.


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/23/2004

You're right, they are sloppy.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/23/2004

Richard,
I have found some other glaring omissions, by your strict standards.

1) “A 9/11 Commission staff report supports the Bush Administration's longstanding conclusion that there was no evidence of "collaboration" between Iraq and al-Qaeda on the 9-11 attacks against the United States.”

However, there is no quote proving that Bush ever made such a conclusion. Also, what 9/11 Commission staff report are they talking about? It only says “a” report.

2) “The Administration has said, however, that it was worried about a number of contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda, including contacts between senior Iraqi intelligence officers and senior members of al-Qaeda.”

Here, the number of contacts the administration is worried about is not specified, nor are the names of the “senior Iraqi intelligence officers,” or the al-Qaeda officers.

3) “The Commission's investigation does not dispute that contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda occurred.”

Where is the quote to prove that? What page of the report is it on?

4) “The Administration also knew that Iraq was harboring a terrorist network headed by Zarqawi. Zarqawi, the senior al-Qaeda associate who was known to be in Baghdad for medical treatment in May 2002, continues to undertake indiscriminate acts of terrorism today.”

It mentions a terrorist network, but provides only one name. Who else composed this supposed “network”? There is also no evidence to support the contention that he was known to be in Baghdad, nor what the medical treatment was. Also, what acts of terror does he currently engage in, it doesn’t say.

5) “The Administration knew Saddam had longstanding, direct, and continuing ties to a number of terrorist groups, including groups responsible for killing Americans.”

Wow, here is a really vague one: how did the administration know this, and what specific groups?



Of course, for the record, I do not believe any of the above claims to be valid or legitimate. I am simply making the point that thus far, much of what you cite as media sloppiness is nothing more than nitpicking at comments you happen to disagree with. You give me an article that you support, and I will gladly point out the same sort of problems you have been pointing out.


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/23/2004

The NY Times article of the 19th, above, which details the commission's conclusion of no collaborative relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq, says this undermines one of the main justifications offered by Bush and Cheney for going to war. Yet there is no quote to support it, nor a reference to a speech, or a date on which this was supposedly said.

Of course, there is no mention of Clinton's claims that they were working together, including the claim, in an indictment in federal court in NYC by one of Clinton's prosecutors, that there was such a relationship.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/22/2004

John,
Again, all interesting and valid points.

1) "I am not sure that a centralized command structure is a necessary prerequisite in an enemy for a succesful military action. The American Indian wars come to mind as a counter example, so do a variety of guerrilla wars that were successfully prosecuted, not to mention the subjugation of non-centralized peoples by military force."

I would argue that the various Native American tribes WERE centralized, as are almost all guerrilla movements. Every tribe we fought had a central base of command, and a clearly defined organizational hierarchy. When those were decapitated (as was the case with Crazy Horse), the organizational ability largely collapsed. The French guerrilla resistance during WWII, as well as the Vietcong, were similarly centralized in command, and did indeed operate out of various bases of operations. Our inability to locate and destroy them was based on the fact that they were located in North Vietnam, Cambodia, and hidden in the Ho Chi Mihn Trail.

Drug rings, on the other hand, have no central commend structure, and no hierarchical organization. They are isolated "cells" that operate all over the country, which is why a military solution is simply not possible, or at least not successful by any definition of the term. An invasion of Columbia or any other Latin American country would not change this fact, as we learned the hard way.

2) "Seems to me that the essential differences between military action and law enforcement are (1) the ferocity of the action ...and (2) the designation of the opponent... Combined these add an element of pre-emption, a enemy soldier can be killed because of the possibility he will cause harm. In general, in law enforcement I cannot apprehend someone because he looks like he might do something."

I disagree. Law enforcement can certainly be just as ferocious, as any inner city police officer who has participated in "busts" can attest to. You are correct however, in that the primary objective is detention, not death of the enemy. although death is an option. I also disagree that the designation of the opponent need be different. Jose Pedilla was arrested by law enforcement, not military action. Ditto with Richard Reid, and numerous others. I do not see how their designation need differ from that of any other terrorist. As for pre-emption, again there is no difference in my opinion, at least from my understanding of the term. Preparing to commit a crime is still illegal, as is conspiracy to commit a crime, provided the evidence is there. How many terrorists have been pre-emtively caught by Israeli authorities over the past several years? How many terrorists have been arrested throughout Europe and the United States before committing any terrorist activity? I do not know exactly, but I know enough to not be concerned out some inability to act pre-emtively in a law enforcement environment.

3) "We like to view the terrorists as wild eyed fanatics, unrepresentative of Islam. My reading of the Koran suggests that they are closer to their religous scripture than we are prepared to accept. In any event, when combined with 30 years of mind poisoning propaganda and a largely uneducated populace, I think this conflict has greater religious impetus than we like to comprehend."

Your assessment of the situation is most likely a correct one (although I do believe that it is a total perversion of Islam and not an accurate representation of it). However, that only makes it all the more urgent that we identify a goal in this war, and then design some plan of action to achieve that goal. To me, the goal is to reduce incidents of terrorism as much as possible, and the plan of action is to arrest or kill as many as possible while starving them of recruits. To get back to my original point, it is my belief that the attack on Iraq has achieved neither of these objectives that could have otherwise been more closely obtained. I further contend that the war on Iraq did the exact opposite, and indeed aided the terrorists in ways that I have described before. At this point, I can only hope that in 10 years, I will have been proven wrong.

4) "It is worth noting that the increased moderation of both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia appears to be more the result of nearby successful application of overhelming military force and a crackdown on religous zeal, than it is of more traditional policial and economic change."

You are quite correct. Both societies have dictatorial leaders that have the authority and the will to violently crack down on fundamentalists and try to change their societies. However, such reform in ANY form is happening from within, and thus does not generate the same kind of counterproductive resentment that would only reinforce the perceptions of a hostile population. I know, it sucks, but it is simply a reality that oppression from one's own "kind" does not generate the hostility that so-called liberation does from the United States. It's unfair, but that is the situation and if we want to fight terrorism, we have to recognize this fundamental reality.


John H. Lederer - 6/22/2004

1. I am not sure that a centralized command structure is a necessary prerequisite in an enemy for a succesful military action. The American Indian wars come to mind as a counter example, so do a variety of guerrilla wars that were successfully prosecuted, not to mention the subjugation of non-centralized peoples by military force.


Seems to me that the essential differences between military action and law enforcement are (1) the ferocity of the action (wars see killing as a legitimate use of force to make the enemy do what you want, law enforcement generally does not) and (2) the designation of the opponent -- in war it is by broad class -- "all enemy combatants"-- or even location --" all ships that enter the prohibited zone will be torpedoed". Combined these add an element of pre-emption, a enemy soldier can be killed because of the possibility he will cause harm. In general, in law enforcement I cannot apprehend someone because he looks like he might do something.

That does not mean the application of military force should not be narrowly circumscribed depending on circumstance.

I must admit to a disquieting and unwelcome thought that I seem to be coming to. That is, that this may principally be a religious war , at least on the other side. We like to view the terrorists as wild eyed fanatics, unrepresentative of Islam. My reading of the Koran suggests that they are closer to their religous scripture than we are prepared to accept. In any event, when combined with 30 years of mind poisoning propaganda and a largely uneducated populace, I think this conflict has greater religious impetus than we like to comprehend.

If true, that puts a much different complexion on "political and economic" change.

It is worth noting that the increased moderation of both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia appears to be more the result of nearby successful application of overhelming military force and a crackdown on religous zeal, than it is of more traditional policial and economic change.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/22/2004

I to not believe this study’s conclusions are valid because I dispute its methods. Has it been published anywhere, I am curious?
The study used the following measurement:
“To compute our measure, we count the times that a media outlet cites various think tanks. We compare this with the times that members of Congress cite the same think tanks in their speeches on the floor of the House and Senate. By comparing the citation patterns we can construct an ADA score for each media outlet.
As a simplified example, imagine that there were only two think tanks, one liberal and one conservative. Suppose that the New York Times cited the liberal think tank twice as often as the conservative one. Our method asks: What is the estimated ADA score of a member of Congress who exhibits the same frequency (2:1) in his or her speeches? This is the score that our method would assign to the New York Times.
A feature of our method is that it does not require us to make a subjective assessment of how liberal or conservative a think tank is. That is, for instance, we do we need to read policy reports of the think tank or analyze its position on various issues to determine its ideology. Instead, we simply observe the ADA scores of the members of Congress who cite the think tank. This feature is important, since an active controversy exists whether, e.g., the Brookings Institution or the RAND Corporation is moderate, left-wing, or right-wing.”
I do not believe that mentioning think tanks is an accurate indicator of the liberal or conservative bend of the news. It is determining bias based on how many times the media cite a think tank that is cited by a conservative, liberal, or moderate Congressmen. This seems like a terribly flawed measurement, without the context behind it.

http://www.fair.org/reports/journalist-survey.html
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3672544/


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/22/2004

1) “What do you see as the critical differences between a military and law enforcement approach that would make the latter work and the former not?”

An excellent question. The answer lies in the organizational structure of Al-Qeada and the hieratical command structure. The organization is extremely de-centralized, with limited chain of command. Indeed, the vast majority of terrorists who have been arrested throughout Western Europe and in the United States seemed to have no contact with higher leadership, only with one other cell, and so forth. Their tactics are often planned and orchestrated within countries without their knowledge or consent, and thus is seems to have all of the qualities of law enforcement, rather than military. In other words, it is more closely aligned with the war on drugs than with WWI or WWII.

2) “Isn't a law enforcement approach likely to result in what Clinton described when Sudan offered us Bin Laden(though he now says he was misquoted, but there is a tape of him saying it)”

I do not care to comment on the Clinton record and terrorism, although I would be happy to if pressed on the issue. To answer your question directly however, no, law enforcement approach would not likely result in anything like that. In fact, the event you described was the exact opposite of law enforcement- it was no enforcement. Law enforcement would treat terrorists like former Nazis: outlaws everywhere, and subject to the arrest and extradition (if possible) to the United States or some other appropriate jurisdiction.

Military reactions, while necessary at times, is no substitute and will only exacerbate the problem in ways I described before (increased recruitment, more domestic pressure not to cooperate with the United States, growing sympathy, if not cooperation, with terrorist organizations that oppose the United States, and so on).

3) “I agree that cultural, political, and economic reform in the mid-east could stop terrorism. Why do you think a peaceful approach would cause this, when as far as I can see, a 30 year long peaceful approach has resulted in a deteriorating situation?”

If, over the past 30 years, we have been trying to change the situation in the Middle East, than I would agree, it has been fruitless, but this has not been the case (quite the opposite, in fact). To his credit, Bush is the first president to seriously demand reform from the Arab world and thus far, it has been the most successful in countries that we have not invaded. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in particular have done more in the past 3 years than in the prior 30 to change their cultural allegiance to terror and fanaticism. Do they still have a long, LONG way to go? Certainly, but attacking them would do nothing to assist in our struggle that non-military coercion can do.


John H. Lederer - 6/22/2004

Adam,

What do you see as the critical differences between a military and law enforcement approach that would make the latter work and the former not? Isn't a law enfrocement approach likely to result in what Clinton described when Sudan offered us Bin Laden(though he now says he was misquoted, but there is a tape of him saying it):


"At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America,"


I agree that cultural, political, and economic reform in the mid-east could stop terrorism. Why do you think a peaceful approach would cause this, when as far as I can see, a 30 year long peaceful approach has resulted in a deteriorating situation?


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/22/2004

I post this not in dispute with anything you wrote, but just in relation to Krugman's assertion (and by implication, similar assertions by Alterman, etc.,). I haven't done a thorough check of the methodology of this paper, but since neither Krugman nor Alterman offered any methodology at all, there it is.

http://216.239.51.104/search?q=cache:tCEKSNVW-OYJ:mason.gmu.edu/~atabarro/MediaBias.doc+drudge%3F&hl=en

The study suggests that, by one measure, the Drudge Report is closer to the middle than other major media news outlets. By another, that Fox News Special Report is the closest to the middle. The study found "a very significant liberal bias" (yep, that's a quote) overall in major media news outlets.

BTW, the WaPO, courtesy of the Drudge Report, is reporting that Clinton's memoirs has him starting his affair with Lewinsky in late 1995 (which is closer to Lewinsky's testimony on the matter, who said it started in the fall of 1995), while Clinton's grand jury testimony has him starting up in early 1996. Oops. As Dad always said, a great liar needs a great memory.

But here's Paul Begala's take:

PAUL BEGALA: "And that is well documented. So if it was about the sex, then there would be no Republicans or Democrats, since everybody's a sinner. So it wasn't that. If it was about lying under oath -- we actually know that Clinton certainly was deceptive, as most people would be about their sex lives -- but, in fact, he did not lie. But, it's absolutely clear that Bush committed perjury in a civil lawsuit, and that DeLay did as well. So we know what it's really about. It's really about power."

You can find the interview at Buzzflash. I'm simply shocked, shocked. You mean you can't trust Begala to tell the truth either? Imagine my surprise.


David Lion Salmanson - 6/22/2004

What I find fascinating here is that neither side has tackled the fact that all public statements by this administration (and indeed all administrations back the the Kennedy era at least) are carefully crafted for public consumption. Bush and VP are trying to shape policy and public opinion when they are on TV (its called the bully pulpit). So the only way we can really measure what is going on is to compare Bush's internal memos with public statements. To the extent that we have internal memos that have become available we find that certain Bush administration officials that are less credible (Rumsfeld stands out here) and that these also tend to be the biggest hawks.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/22/2004

I have no particular loyalty to any television media, since they all suffer from sensationalism and appealing to the lowest common denominator (as well as, in my humble opinion, being bias towards conservative politicians). I was simply noting that your particular concerns about the CNN interview seemed rather trivial and based on things that are common in TV interviews. Former Reagan, and former Bush advisors, as well as even former Nixon advisors are routinely asked to comment on contemporary issues based on their experience but you are the first to suggest that some like, say Henry Kissinger or some other official serving in a sensitive position is no more qualified to speak on TV than a journalist that may have no government experience. I often wonder why many people, from Ralph Nader to Ann Coulter continue to get a platform on the major media networks, when so many more valid stories demand elaboration rather than brief sound bytes.

" Fox does not invariably lie." Jason Blaire and incidents of plagiarism notwithstanding, neither do any media outlet in some systematic fashion. Why should they? You can express what ever you like in tone and choice of story, there is no need to lie.


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/22/2004

I believe the Earth is, roughly, an oblate ellipsoid in shape. I understand that puts me in disagreement with Paul Krugman and the great majority of Americans (perhaps even the great majority of planet Earth residents), but there it is. You may disagree with me if you choose.

BTW, fire away at Fox. I say give them all hell. Krugman's comment came during a live interview at the Harvard Bookstore. He said Fox lies, and that the major media present everything as a debate. By analogy, he offered that Fox believed the Earth was flat, and that major media report it as a debate on whether the Earth is flat or not -- since we all, of course, know that the Earth is round. Ha, ha, ha.

Now as categorical statements, those seem to fail. Fox does not invariably lie -- they were the first TV network to break the Bush DUI story. Nor do the major media invariably present everything as a debate. Jayson Blair certainly didn't. Jack Kelley certainly didn't. And if Ralph is to be believed, Judith Miller certainly didn't. So we must be talking about comparative rates, which would involve, one would imagine, quite a bit of research -- none of which Krugman presented. He simply asserted.

BTW, I now know why CNN didn't identify the experience of their source, Dan Benjamin. He was counterterrorism chief on the NSC under Clinton, and hasn't had access to classified materials in more than three years. He is in no better position to make his claims than the journalists, like Hayes, who make contrary claims. CNN wanted to give him the air of authority, so they sort of didn't tell you that. Benjamin simply has no more current info on the matter. He has no access to material on Shakir, and he reports there are two Shakirs -- something nobody else has reported. Needless to say, Benjamin didn't mention Atta's two prior unexplained trips to Prague. If he had, he'd have to expalin them away too -- and that would be a bit of a challenge.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/22/2004

Richard,
I am not really sure what your goal was for posting an interview and then picking apart the interview for not including your personal beliefs. Your nitpicking of it is all the more unusual since you accuse CNN of doing only what is standard journalist practice. Allow me to elaborate:

1) "There was an interview with a fomer NSC staffer -- we weren't even told when he served, or what his area was."

Is this somehow unusual or uncommon to you? I have never seen an interview in which full biographical detail was given on an interviewee. Often people are given the title, "former official," or "military commander." You can either think that CNN simply hired some actor, and discontinue watching them, or you can accept that as the standard form of journalistic introduction. Either way.

2) "He said "apparently" the Czechs don't believe there was a meeting. No source or argument for that claim, and the use of the word 'apparently' struck me as odd."

The source is assumed: it is based on the officials experience and observation. The word "apparently" often implies that the information to follow does not fit the conventional wisdom on the subject.

3) "No mention of Epstein's interview with the head of Czech intelligence, where he confirms the Atta meting. Then he pointed out that 'phone records' had Atta in Florida, without pointing out it was cell phone call records, not intercepts -- it could have been anybody on the phone. No mention of al Ani's calendar, of course. Then he said there were two Shakirs. No source offered. Great "reporting" all around."

I am not really sure what your usual news source is but every station or magazine or paper that conducts an interview (ESPECAILLY a television interview) in which a former official is asked about something, they are generally not quizzed on every rumor, story, or speculation that ever existed. Based on his credentials, he believes that the Czechs do not believe in the meeting. You can either agree with him or not.

I have a question: I would like you to post something that you have read that you agree with or believe and I would be more than happy to subject it to the same scrutiny as you seem to feel comfortable with doing.
As a side, I just went to FoxNews and clicked on the cover story, and there was amble room for me to make similar complaints that you have.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/22/2004

Mr. Mahan,
Thank you for your response. I will try to address each of your points as thoroughly as I can:

1) "My concerns, and I’m sure much of the concerns of the Administration as to the “costs of inaction” are the billions of dollars lost as a result of the rapidly expanding political instability in the Middle East and the global exportation of that instability."

I agree, that is a concern, and one that must be addressed in any serious issue to confront terrorism. However, Iraq was perhaps the most stable country in the middle east. It was totalitarian with under complete control either under Saddam, or under UN no-fly-zone areas. Can you look at the Middle East today and honestly say that it is MORE stable since the attack, or less? Frankly, every person I have spoken to on the issue, every book that I have read, every poll that I have seen, shows the Arab-Israeli conflict, not Iraq, as the principle cause of instability and the principle struggle with which all Arabs identify. So yes, instability is a cost, but you do not stop a fire on second street by starting one on fifth street.

2) "GWB recognizes that no terrorist group can be allowed."

Then he has a problem because terrorism is not a "thing," it is a tactic, used for many different reasons by many different groups. Are we prepared to go into Japan to stop the terrorist groups led by their cult leader? Do we support the Russians and the Sudanese, and almost every country in Africa that s fighting nationalistic terrorist groups? Fighting a war on terrorism literally is like fighting a war on frontal assaults. You are trying to defeat a tactic.

3) "GWB has forced the hand of the weak patriarchcal governments of the Middle East to stop mollifying terrorists. Iraq is only the start. We are beginning to see Saudi changed, others will follow."

I doubt this very much. The Saudi change, as well s the Pakistan change, was evidence after war with Afghanistan became a certainty and was exacerbated when they themselves were attacked and they realized that their kingdom was threatened. I see no evidence that the Iraq war produced such a change, other than making it more difficult to halt terrorist recruitment.

4) "Proaction is the ONLY way to address global terrorism."

I agree, but only effective and planned pro-action. There seems to be an assumption that we fight terrorist the same way we fight states (i.e. by invading some state). By honest with yourself friend, did attacking Iraq do anything (and I mean anything) to stop or deter Al-Qeada? Do you really believe that the organization is significantly weakened now?

5) "I disagree with you that no one advocated inaction. There is no indication that the U.N. would not have continued to write resolution after resolution as Saddam defied them."

I will give you that. Certainly, many in the UN would have continued the status quo rather than take action but once action was initiated, I don't recall any protest until invasion was on the table.

6) "Our congress and the coalition were justified to put an end to Saddam’s dishonesty and cruelty to his people."

I don't dispute this, but was it in our best interest to do so, that is the real issue I am trying to address. We have a right to do many things, but will they help to achieve our objectives or not?

7) "Simultaneously he made an excellent example for the rest of the region."

As I have said before, I disagree. The example, if any, it seems to have set is that do whatever you can to get WMD and fast, since that is the only immunity from invasion. The only contrary example some bring up is Libya, but this is an illusion. Libya has been trying to make a deal with the US for years, and has been willing to dismantle his meager WMD program for a long time. However, for political reasons and the idea that we would not give in to blackmail prevented the US from accepting it until after the Iraq war, so that wasn't some abrupt change in Libyan policy based on Iraq.

8) "Many people see the ousting of the Taliban commendable yet the ousting of the Baath Party unsupportable. Why? I don’t see the difference. Both were essentially the same oppressive, thieving, murderous governments. In fact, an argument can be made that Saddam was more dangerous to his own people and certainly to the region than the Taliban."

Correct on all counts. However, there were important differences: we had the support of the entire world community, including many Arab governments, the invasion was thus seen as the world v. Afghanistan. Furthermore, we had every reason to go into Afghanistan: They harbored those who attacked us, making them just as culpable, we were able to eliminate a large base for Al-Qeada operatives, and we could turn Afghanistan into a model of peace and Democracy in the region. In Iraq, none of the above is the case. At the very most (and this is the MOST I will give) there seems to have been some contacted communication between the Iraqi government and Al-Qeada. The connection ends there, and even if it does not, the international community rejects the argument that Iraq is connected in any way with the war on terror.

9) "Mr. Moshe, I reject the equivalency in foreign policy argument. Foreign policy does not require that all circumstances that have a common element be treated exactly the same. It is not realistic. How we handled S. Africa or Korea or Cuba or will handle China and Iran does not have to be the same as the way we’ve handled any other nation. As an example: if Iran does not abandon its claims to developing a nuclear program (probably in exchange for being paid off as Korea’s neighbors are doing) we will be forced to take military action. Not because that is what we did in Iraq, but because under the conditions it will be necessary and appropriate."

Perhaps you misunderstood my intend of the post. I was making the exact same argument that you are: that we should not handle every problem the same ways. My examples were meant to illustrate the different ways we deal with different situations. There seems to be an assumption by some people that full invasion is (a) easy, (b) cost-free, and (c) the first, last, and ONLY viable solution to any problem. I refute that, and I reject those claims that our failure to invade Iraq meant that we had to do nothing.

Finally, I certainly reject the claim that invading Iraq helped the United States in any way, shape, or form. It has damaged our relations with other countries, provided an inexhaustible base of recruitment where it was not as strong before, diverted resources away from the hunt for Al-Qeada, and hampered our ability to utilize our military in any large scale way elsewhere in the world where it might be needed. You talk about invading Iran as if it is some simple matter, and as if our arrogance and threat of brut force is the only leverage the United States has at its disposal. Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1982 wihtout having to invade. Are they that smarter than us?


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/22/2004

Saw a report on CNN from David Ensor last night. There was an interview with a fomer NSC staffer -- we weren't even told when he served, or what his area was. He said "apparently" the Czechs don't believe there was a meeting. No source or argument for that claim, and the use of the word 'apparently' struck me as odd. No mention of Epstein's interview with the head of Czech intelligence, where he confirms the Atta meting. Then he pointed out that 'phone records' had Atta in Florida, without pointing out it was cell phone call records, not intercepts -- it could have been anybody on the phone. No mention of al Ani's calendar, of course. Then he said there were two Shakirs. No source offered. Great "reporting" all around.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/21/2004

Mr. Lederer,
I appreciate your post, even if I may respectfully disagree with it.

Allow me to elucidate why I believe the Bush policy of combating terrorism is incorrect, and let me start after the invasion of Afghanistan, which was certainly the moral and strategic first step in the war on terror.

Terrorism, unlike guerrilla warfare or traditional warfare, is stateless. That is, it can exist and flourish even without the knowledge or consent of any state government. It is also small in operation, containing only a handful per cell, with very little hierarchy. That is to say, bin Laden might be the leader, but he is not the commander. If bin Laden dies tomorrow, does anyone believe that it will end the Al-Qeada cells in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and America that have no real contact with him anyway? I do not. Decapitation of the leadership is necessary to fight terrorism, but it is not sufficient, as different cells have different leaders.

I see two mutually reinforcing ways therefore to confront terrorism:
1) Law Enforcement: Create an international network whereby law enforcement activity can be coordinated across different nations. The EU already has such a systems in place, allowing Italy to arrest terrorists that otherwise only Spain knows about. After 9/11, the United States is beginning to create such a network within our own country. As terrorism is a global threat, it requires global coordination (or as close as we can get). The idea of stopping terrorism before it hits us is thus a law enforcement issue, as the State of Israel knows only too well. Terrorist attacks are not planned in the war room of some military base that we can bomb or infiltrate. It is planned via the internet, in apartment buildings, perhaps a few blocks away from where you are sitting right now.

2) Recruitment: Almost everything terrorists do is for the purpose of gaining new recruits. In the Middle East, terrorist organizations have a pool of people, who feel threatened by Westernization and have been taught by schools and parents that the United States (and of course Israel) is the cause of all their woes. Nowhere is this more pervasive and more dangerous than in Saudi Arabia. Thus, cultural reform is needed in these societies and that means political reform, which requires patience, persistence, and the necessary incentive to enforce these societies comply. In other words, we must begin to address the issue of starving terrorists of their recruitment. Ultimately, this is what killed the KKK in the United States as a nationally respected and powerful organization.

Both of these can, of course, be elaborated on extensively (certainly, books have been written on the subject of combating terrorism) but that is my prescription in a nutshell.

Thus far, the administration had been working counter to those goals in attacking Iraq. First, I have seen little evidence that Al-Qeada was ever able to get any serious recruits from Iraq (I certainly am unfamiliar with any known terrorists originating from there, or from Iran, for that matter). Second, the attack (at the very least in the short term) increased the level of hatred towards the United States all over the Arab world, encouraging new recruitment. Fourth, our presence in Iraq gives Al-Qeada a target, a base from which to kill Americans in a society that remains relatively lawless. Iraq has become a symbol, in a way the entire country has been martyred and has been an effective recruiting tool throughout the region. Hence we have invented a front in the war on terror that need not exist. Finally, American presence in Iraq has severely damaged our relations with many former allies whose assistance is absolutely necessary in any serious effort to fight terrorism (see point one above).

Finally, I would like to address the policy of pre-emption. I do not believe that this is an accurate term to describe Bush's attack on Iraq. Pre-emptive attacks are not only morally acceptable, but historically as well. Perhaps the most famous of these was Israel's 1967 attack on Egypt prior to an Egyptian offensive. What we did in Iraq is more accurately called an invasion, nothing more. We were not pre-empting anything. Not only was Iraq not preparing to attack us, but there were United Nations personnel all over the country searching for weapons right before the invasion. Going into Iraq may be many things that are open to debate, but I have a hard time buying into the idea that it was pre-emptive of anything. Preventative, perhaps, but not pre-emtive.


John H. Lederer - 6/21/2004

First my apolgies for the thread title. My computer remembered too much.

When I look at the present world and the threat of terrorism which 9/11 underlined as a serious major threat rather than a horrible but minor one, I am forced to the conclusion that Bush's policy is right. It may not be well executed in detail, and it may even be fundamentally wrong in major plan of execution, but it is right in overall concept.

We cannot protect the United States against terrorism by a defensive posture. . Our borders are too vast in scope and our society too open for it to be realistic.Any successful defense will have to be by offense -- we have to disrupt terrorism before it can be initiated.

That, of course, is the core of Bush's policy of pre-emption. I have heard many arguments against pre-emption. I have never heard an argument for a policy that would likely be more successful.

Pre-emption need not be just by military means -- it can also be economic or political, but given the state of the world today, particularly in the mid-east it must cause significant change.

Is Iraq the proper place and key for that change? Could better results be obtained somewhere else? Where and what?


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/21/2004

"What are the costs of inaction? Something the administration is intimately aware of that most of America cannot conceive of."

I am not sure the administration knows any more than George H.W. Bush, whose predictions of what might happen if they take the country have proven prophetic, or the numerous scholars on the region, or the many other politicians, diplomats, and world leaders that advocated against this war.

In any event, the cost of inaction would have been a stronger and more dangerous Iraq. However, few actually suggested inaction. Rather, Bush's tough stance on the issue forced the inspections process to resume more stronger and more effective than they were before 1998, and act that I commended him on at the time. Had he left it at that, or waited for definitive proof of violations of the UN, or for an openly belligerent act by Iraq, Bush would be remembered as the president that brought peace to Afghanistan and law and order back to Iraq. But he did not stop there. He invaded the country, decapitated the government, and here we are.

What I am saying, in other words, was that the alternative to full invasion was never inaction. In the 1980's, we refused to sanction S. Africa because we thought constructive engagement would have solved the problem of Apartheid. Ditto with China today. In N. Korea, we opted for negotiation, and then to hostility. The list goes on and on. The United States is no novice in international affairs. George H.W. Bush knew this far better than his son.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/21/2004

Richard,
In WWII, war was declared on us by Japan and Germany, and thus we had no choice in whether or not to fight, no matter the cost.

In Iraq, it is as you said: the cost is upfront, and the benefit (if one exists at all and the situation turns out worse than we hope) is way down the line. Frankly, I could not care less how the Iraqis would answer that question and I am not really sure why you care as well. Of course, THEY are better off, I do not argue that. But as an American, I am looking at American interests, not Iraqi, or Sudanese, or Congolese, or any other persecuted people with whom I have the utmost sympathy. As for 5 years from now, we shall have to wait and see, however seeing as there is absolutely no accountability in government, I doubt anyone will blame the current administration for whatever happens.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/21/2004

Mr. Mahan,
You are not piling on at all, merely raising a legitimate issue. Indeed, I agree with the textual statements made by Bush and Cheney regarding the possibility of a connection. I believe that if you look at every statement, the administration does indeed avoid making any definitive statements about a connection. My problem is the fact that I believe that the administration implied a connection very plainly, by highlighting the overall links between the two, talking about how Iraq is the next logical step, given the connection to AQ, and so forth. I do not believe I am alone on this. As I have said before, around 70% of Americans believe that such a link exists between 9/11 and Iraq (or is likely to have existed) despite the fact that, as Bush later clarified after the war, there is no evidence of such a connection.

Your explanation as to why that is so is, perhaps, true and accurate. However, you say that "it is not as if GWB can magically change public opinion at will." This is very true, but a simple statement of that fact, as he was all but forced to make AFTER the war, would have gone a long way towards educating the public. From a personal experience, I know that I have been trying to dispel the myth for some time among my conservative success with no luck... until Bush came out an said it. A statement of the fact that no evidence exists to prove a link might not have changed anyone's mind about the war, but it would certainly help to quell the believe that information was kept from the public before the war (a dangerous belief in a democracy, regardless of whether or not it is true).


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/21/2004

"My beliefs about the war on Iraq is based on a simple question: Did the benefits incurred by invading Iraq exceed the costs?"

Couldn't agree more. Not surprising though, inasmuch as the costs are upfront, and any benefits are downstream. Let's compare to WWII. One year into WWII, which was greater, the costs or the benefits? See my point? Let's ee how the Iraqis answer that question a year or two from now. Let's also see how we would answer that question 5 years from now.


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/21/2004

I stand corrected on the Bush quote. Mea culpa.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/21/2004

My beliefs about the war on Iraq is based on a simple question: Did the benefits incurred by invading Iraq exceed the costs? To me, the answer is an unequivocal no. I believe that the rationale behind the war was wrong as well as deceitful to the American people, and I base that on sources inside and outside the administration that I consider credible.

Furthermore, even when I DID believe the administration (which I did unquestionably prior to the war) I still opposed it because I believed that there were many other alternatives available that would have been less costly (and I do not speak of costs only in terms of dollars, nor only in terms of lives lost).

I would be more than happy to address specific issues, as I have in the past, but ultimately, I reject those claims that in order to be against the war, I somehow have to either love Saddam Hussein, or believe that the country is free of any legal or moral guilt related to its international obligations.

Therefore, allow me to make the following claims, since for some reason I am obligated to make them: Saddam Hussein was a dictatorial tyrant whom the Iraqi people and indeed the world, are far better off without. He violated the UN agreements that he made in the wake of the Gulf War and there is very little that he would not do if he believed it furthered his interest. There, I hope that clarified my position on the issue of this war.

Allow me to address some of those specifics that you bring up in your post:
1) “Speaking of not analyzing WMD fairly, let's consider the sarin shell.”

Let’s. What does that mean, finding the Sarin? That everything Bush said about the massive stockpiles that can threaten the United States was right? It means nothing to me, since I never believed that Iraq was totally free of WMD and even I was amazed at our inability to find practically anything before the Sarin shell. All the Sarin shell proves to me is that Iraq had some chemical weapons, in violation of the UN agreement. As I have said above, I did not begin disputing the WMD claims until after the war, when they turned out to be (thus far) false.

2) “Translation: it was Iraqi, despite the fact that according to UNMOVIC and UNSCOM assertions, it doesn't even exist.”

This sentence is simply petty and ignorant. The UN never said that such weapons did not exist, merely that there was insufficient evidence for them, similar to how you maintain that it is likely Iraq was connected to 9/11 even though Bush said that there is no evidence of it.

3) “Of course, there is no mention of Hussein's threat to unleash terror, that he delivered to April Glaspie.”

I found this on line, and I am not sure if it is what you are referring to:
http://www.chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/glaspie.html
If so, it sounds like any other interview the leader of an unfriendly state would say to an American Ambassador. I am not sure what the point you were trying to make in bringing it up, other than to prove (as if it needed proving) that Saddam was capable of using common hostile rhetoric against a perceived threat.

4) “And there is no mention of Putin's own intel, delivered to Bush, that Hussein was going to employ terrorists to attack the US.”

I find this piece of information useless. We do not know what the intelligence was, how credible it was, what the rationale for giving it to us was, or why Russia still opposed our war even with that knowledge. All I know is that the administration never cited it as evidence for why Iraq is a danger to us. Beyond that, if you have any other information on the subject, I look forward to reading it.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5238640/


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/21/2004

Forgive me; I simply assumed that you were familiar with what I have been talking about.
Allow me to inform you what Bush did say, and I quote:
"We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the Sept. 11"
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,97527,00.html


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/21/2004

I quote from your post further above:

"He [Bush] said there was no evidence linking Iraq to the attacks of 9/11." (bracketed insert provided by me)

I can't find that purported statement by Bush anywhere. I do remember (because I actually saw him make the statement on TV) him saying that his administration had never claimed a link between Iraq and 9/11. That seems responsible, to me. The evidence is not dispositive. That is distinct from there being no evidence at all. Tenet said the CIA could neither confirm, nor disconfirm the Czech report of an April 2001 meeting in Prague. That too is distinct from saying there is no evidence of a meeting -- the Czech report is evidence, it just hasn't been confirmed by other evidence, nor disconfirmed by other evidence. Cheney makes clear, in his statements, that there is the Czech report, but that it isn't possible to know on that basis alone. That too strikes me as responsible. And that too is distinct from no evidence at all, as the Czech report is evidence.

As to when Hussein said it, it was said to Glaspie on the eve of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Hussein didn't then wait a decade -- he set up an assassination attempt within months of losing the war. According to the staff's own statements, the 9/11 plan was not approved by al Qaeda until 1999. Khalid Sheik Mohammed had hatched the plan, and delivered the Hamburg group and the plan to bin Laden -- an off the shelf deal. Bin laden scaled down the plan, and gave it the green light. Is it impossible that al Qaeda, just as KSM had provided a plan to Bin Laden, in turn provided a plan to Hussein? No. In any case, the outlines of the plan didn't exist until 1999.

You say perhaps the staff didn't find the evidence of the prior meetings credible. Epstein got it from Kavan (the horse's mouth), the head of Czech intelligence. Epstein even cites tapes at the Prague airport, and a visa number.

There may indeed be more information than the Commission has. UPI just reported the Colonel Shakir info, which the staff didn't have. And (get this) the staff statements were never approved by the Commission (according to Safire)!! What kind of amateur hour operation are they running up there?


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/21/2004

1) “Actually Bush said he had never claimed there was a link between Iraq and al Qaeda relating to 9/11. He did not say there was no link. Those two statements are completely consistent with Cheney citing the Prague meeting as possible, but non-dispositive.”

Perhaps you may have misread my post. My point was that Bush said that there was no evidence linking Iraq to the attacks of 9/11. In fact, I explicitly said the word “imply” such as to avoid the predictable response of what was actually said.

2) “And yes, we did use force against Hussein in 1991. It was called the Gulf War. I'm rather sure it was in the newspapers at the time.”

I see. So you are saying that Saddam at one point in the past (you don’t say when) claimed that if he is attacked, he will attack the United States. He is attacked, then is subjected to inspections, waits a decade for some reason, and then decides to combine forces with bin Laden in an attack on the United States. Is that your theory? Sounds interesting. Any evidence to support your ideas?

3) “And what exactly is your explanation for the fact that the 9/11 staff statements relate the travels of the 9/11 hijackers, but don't mention the two unexplained trips to Prague by Atta in 2000? They were short of paper?”

Perhaps they did not find the evidence credible.

4) “And how do you explain the fact that the 9/11 staff statements shoot down the April 2001 Prague meeting by citing non-dispositie phone records, without pointing out that the equally non-dispositive al Ani calendar supports the Czech contentions? An oversight, perhaps?”

If you have more information than the 9/11 commission, then by all means, expose the truth to the world. I do not know why they excluded those things because I have not read the report. However, I find it odd that neither the administration nor any other prominent conservative groups to my knowledge share your accusations towards the commission. Isn’t that a little strange?

5) “The telephone comment I made was equally applied to the press and the American public, and not just you.”

I am flattered to have been included.


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/21/2004

Actually Bush said he had never claimed there was a link between Iraq and al Qaeda relating to 9/11. He did not say there was no link. Those two statements are completely consistent with Cheney citing the Prague meeting as possible, but non-dispositive.

And yes, we did use force against Hussein in 1991. It was called the Gulf War. I'm rather sure it was in the newspapers at the time.

And what exactly is your explanation for the fact that the 9/11 staff statements relate the travels of the 9/11 hijackers, but don't mention the two unexplained trips to Prague by Atta in 2000? They were short of paper? And how do you explain the fact that the 9/11 staff statements shoot down the April 2001 Prague meeting by citing non-dispositie phone records, without pointing out that the equally non-dispositive al Ani calendar supports the Czech contentions? An oversight, perhaps?

The telephone comment I made was equally applied to the press and the American public, and not just you.


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/21/2004

Your claimed ability to deduce what Hussein would or would not do is not very convincing. By your logic, he should never had gone into Kuwait. Nor would he have tried to assassinate George Sr. But he did. Nor is the historical animosity all that convincing, inasmuch as al Qaeda operative Zaqari was allowed to operate in Iraq and, as Richrad Clarke asserts, the Iraqis and al Qaeda had a joint venture going in the Sudan pharmaceutical plant. Deducing what Hussein would or would not do by reference to first principles simply does hold up under the pressure of contrary facts. The ties of the other countries to al Qaeda may have been stronger, but their animosity to the US was less than that of Iraq.

And yes, Iraq could offer something that the others couldn't. Anthrax, and training at Salman Pak.

Speaking of not analyzing WMD fairly, let's consider the sarin shell. A genuine binary, it is found in no Iraqi statement to UNMOVIC or UNSCOM, nor in their assessments of Iraqi arms. It was a 155 shell, which matched the artillery of those Iraqi units devoted to delivering chemical weapons. And it didn't have the efficacy of an American shell. Translation: it was Iraqi, despite the fact that according to UNMOVIC and UNSCOM assertions, it doesn't even exist. Are there more? Who knows? It could be part of a small stock of prototypes that intelligence said he was working on in the '80's. Or it could be part of a larger stockpile.

Of course, there is no mention of Hussein's threat to unleash terror, that he delivered to April Glaspie. And there is no mention of Putin's own intel, delivered to Bush, that Hussein was going to employ terrorists to attack the US.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/21/2004

Mr. Lederer,
Thank you for your post. It is a nice change to read some honest and intelligent posts without degrading into partisan attacks. I agree with you 100%. We just don't know. I cannot explain the evidence you cite because I don't know whether they are all accurate or not. However, I will not be convinced of a connection between 9/11 and Iraq even if all of them are indeed accurate for the following reason:

1) There has been a historic animosity between the two groups that bin Laden does not seem to have forgotten (although there seems to be evidence suggesting that he was thinking about it)
2) There are so many other nations whose connection was so much stronger, it seems strange to me as to why there would need to be a connection. There was nothing that Iraq had that al Qeada needed. It had money, recruits, supplies, training facilities, territory, and others from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia at least.
3) Saddam Hussein had no reason to participate in any way. It would get him nothing and he knew that his situation was precarious enough to avoid such a direct confrontation with the US. He may have been crazy, but he was also paranoid, and I know of nothing that would suggest him participating in a direct attack against the United States.

In short, a connection between Iraq and al Qeada seems likely, but not enough to distinguish Iraq from others. The connection between Iraq and 9/11 is certainly possible, but the evidence simply does not seem to be there. I also believe that had WMD been found just as promised, people would not even dwell on the 9/11 connection because there would be no need. It is my suspicion that 9/11 and WMD are two things that some people will not allow to be analyzed intelligently for fear of the "wrong" answer appearing: which is that, for whatever reason, the war against Iraq was not worth it.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/21/2004

1) "Actually, the poll you cite says that 7 out of 10 people believe it was "likely" that Saddaam was involved -- not that they had dispositive proof. Isn't it funny how people, like playing the child-hood game of telephone, take what they want to hear, and then pass it off as fact?"

The only thing I find funny is how some people turn to petty insults out of either desperation for a cogent argument, or frustration at having to focus on semantics in order to avoid discussing the real issue at hand. 70% of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks. President Bush, after the war, said that there was no evidence to demonstrate this and the 9/11 commission says the same. In other words, Bush knew that 70% of the American people believed something for which no evidence exists. You dismiss this out of hand, accusing me of playing some childish trick. That is your right of course, but it is rather sad to see a person of your intelligence be forced to such lengths to defend Bush.

2) "I myself think it is likely."

The president disagrees with you, as does the intelligence community and the 9/11 commission, as well as myself. Bush never said that the evidence was not conclusive, or that the evidence suggests a link. He said there was no evidence linking Iraq to the attacks of 9/11. However, don't worry, you are not alone. Most conservatives are still willing, even at this point, to maintain that Saddam was involved (or as you say, was likely to have been involved) as I have little doubt they will for the rest of their lives, or at least so long as they put partisanship ahead of reasoned analysis based on evidence.

3) "I note Hussein's comments to April Glaspie, where he as much as said he would send terrorists against us if we used force against him."

But we did not use force against him since 1991. Why would he suddenly plan an attack with al Qeada against America? What purpose would that serve him? In any event, there is no evidence that such was the case.

4) "Add to that the revelation that the Russians actually passed to us some of their own intel saying that Hussein was going to launch terrorist attacks."

I heard of this, although I do not know what the basis for their warnings were. At this point, I am certainly not willing to accept it out of hand.

5) "Add to that the presence in Iraq, with Hussein's approval, of Zarquawi, Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas, the '93 WTC bomber, and the crazies of NE Iraq."

This does seem to be the case. However, put into context, this seems extremely mild compared with the overt support given by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, to name a few. Some would posit the presence of terrorists as prove positive of a strong relationship that led to the attacks, but people totally ignore the fact that this connection was mild. Those people were popular in the Arab world, including among the people of Iraq. I find nothing incriminating Iraq in 9/11 by the presence of certain operatives.

6) "And I note how desperately some are working to make sure nobody else thinks it is likely."

I can assure you, there is no desperation needed to try to defend what the president himself, the principle person whom some conservatives will say and do anything to protect, has said, which is that there is no evidence of a connection between Iraq and the attacks. What amazed me is how desperate others have become, picking up on a detail here, some comment there, some phrase or action that might somehow be seen as evidence. Meanwhile, Iraq's neighbors openly helped al Qeada, provided many raw recruits, funding, and schools! It is like the police raiding the next-door neighbor of an international crack house, because they have some marijuana on their lawn.

7) "The 9/11 Commission staff statements report on the movements of the hijackers prior to 9/11. But when it comes to Atta, they assiduously airbrush his two year 2000 trips to Prague, probably because they think it would give credence to the Czech intelligence report that he met with an Iraqi agent handler named al Ani in 2001."

So now the 9/11 commission is a tool of liberals who will ignore evidence in order to make Bush look bad? Fascinating interpretation. I guess, like all others within and outside of the administration who have criticized Bush, the 9/11 commission too must be delegitimized in order to protect him?

8) "It must be a terrible thing to be a liberal and have to watch as the libs loose their iron-clad grip on major media."

The so-called "liberal media bias" will always exist because conservatives will always keep it alive. When Kerry is president and the press bash the crap out of him, conservatives will likely play the myth down a little (or accuse the media of not doing enough to bash him). But then when another Republican is one day elected, conservatives will cite it as evidence on why they are giving him (or her) such a hard time. So don't kid yourself. I think we both know that the "liberal media" will always be there, whether it exists or not. It is too valuable a PR tool to get rid of.


Ralph E. Luker - 6/21/2004

Richard, You also believe the earth is flat and the moon made of green cheese.


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/21/2004

Actually, the poll you cite says that 7 out of 10 people believe it was "likely" that Saddaam was involved -- not that they had dispositive proof. Isn't it funny how people, like playing the child-hood game of telephone, take what they want to hear, and then pass it off as fact?

I myself think it is likely. I note Hussein's comments to April Glaspie, where he as much as said he would send terrorists against us if we used force against him. Add to that the revelation that the Russians actually passed to us some of their own intel saying that Hussein was going to launch terrorist attacks. Add to that the presence in Iraq, with Hussein's approval, of Zarquawi, Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas, the '93 WTC bomber, and the crazies of NE Iraq. And I note how desperately some are working to make sure nobody else thinks it is likely. The 9/11 Commission staff statements report on the movements of the hijackers prior to 9/11. But when it comes to Atta, they assiduously airbrush his two year 2000 trips to Prague, probably because they think it would give credence to the Czech intelligence report that he met with an Iraqi agent handler named al Ani in 2001. And only today has UPI gotten around to reporting the view that Colonel Shakir of the Sadaam Fedayeen met 9/11 hijackers in Kuala Lumpur.

So yeah, I think it's likely that Hussein had a hand in it, through al Qaeda.

It must be a terrible thing to be a liberal and have to watch as the libs loose their iron-clad grip on major media.


John H. Lederer - 6/21/2004

" we just don't know" seems to me the most accurate characterization of whether or not Iraq was involved in a supporting role in 9/11.

Th evidence that it was is thin:

1. Sakir's presence in Kuala Lumpur when and where the highjackings were discussed.
2. Atta's trip to Prague to meet with Iraqi intelligence -- which may or may not have happened, but any honest appraisal of whether it did has to discuss:
(1) His withdrawal of $8,000 immediately before the supposed trip and the absence of any known reason for the withdrawal.
(2) His other two trips (one abortive as he went before his visa was cleared and was not allowed out of the airport) to Prague. The aborted one suggests that Atta felt some urgnecy about the meeting.
(3) The entry in the Iraqi intelligence agent's calendar for the period in question of a meeting with a "hamburg student" and Atta's previous status as a "hamburg student"
(4) The training ground with a 707 fuselage in Iraq.



These may all be explainable. But an honest appraial would attempt to explain them, not disregard them.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/21/2004

Sadly, were they on trial for lying to the American people about links betwen Iraq and 9/11, the administration would likely be aquited since the evidence is circumstantial and the defense will continously dwell on the literal face value of words and statements.

We can go through statement by statement, and I can say how much they imply a link between Iraq and the attacks, and Bush-supporters can say no, not at all. The point is that 70% of the American people believed that there was link between Iraq and 9/11- 70%!

This leads me to conclude one of the following:
1) 70% of the American people suffer through some mass stupidity and simply all jumped to the same incorrect conclusion
2) The media was lying to the American people (conservatives will no doubt dismiss this since it seems to go against the popular liberal-media-bias line), or
3) People looked at everything the administration was saying and doing, and assumed (correctly in my opinion) that a link was what the administration was saying.

I don't blame Bush supporters for defending their guy, but at the very least, this administration went to war KNOWING that 7 out of 10 Americans believed something that there was no evidence for. Bush admitted this AFTER the war. Does no one have a problem with this at all? Does anyone mind that, at the very least, the administration did nothing to dispell those myths before the invasion? Or do people simply think that the president has no such obligation to the American people?

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/21/2004

Here's another summary of the NY Times caught spinning the news -- with the help of the 9/11 Commission staff:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/21/opinion/21SAFI.html?ex=1088395200&en=6def8ee2f0b48d06&ei=5006&partner=ALTAVISTA1


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/21/2004

Timing is everything. I write about Prague and the holes in the 9/11 staff statements, and two days later the point shows up on Instapundit. I write about Shakir, the Fedayeen colonel who met with al Qaeda operatives in Kula Lumpur, and a few days later it pops up on UPI -- just in time to be of inconvenience to you, Ralph:

http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20040620-050700-2315r

And what was Shakir found with when he was picked up? Contact information to several top al Qaeda guys. Who got him his job in Kuala Lumpur? The Iraqi embassy. Several days after the meeting there, he quit his job and left the country.


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/21/2004

Well, I cited the matters of al Ani, and Colonel Shakir. You may not consider that evidence, and even if it were, it would be insufficient to nail it down. In any case, Bush never said there was evidence. See my "oops" entry below.


Ralph E. Luker - 6/21/2004

Richard, It isn't that there is "insufficient evidence" that Saddam Hussein cooperated with al Qaeda in 9/11. There is _no_ evidence of it. What part of _that_ don't _you_ understand?


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/20/2004

Oops. The NY Times has done it again -- but without th golden locks and cute smile that Britney does it. Yep, the NY Times, which published Walter Duranty's servile lies claiming there was no famine in the Ukraine in the early '30's. Whose headquarters still displays the Pulitzer given Duranty for his lies. And who has the temerity to write that Duranty was merely too credulous. Well, here is the latest:

http://www.seanet.com/~jimxc/Politics/June2004_3.html#jrm2306


Steven Rutledge - 6/20/2004

Before anyone says one more thing about this administration and this issue, I would advise that they carefully read Michael Grant's translation of Tacitus' Annals (it will take several reads for you to appreciate the rhetorical methodology of this administration and its connection to this ancient author) and then take a look at I. S. Ryberg's article, "Tacitus' art of innuendo", Transactions of the American Philological Association 73 (1942) 383-404.


Richard Henry Morgan - 6/19/2004

Guess who asserted those "dubious" links? Clinton's federal prosecutor in NY, in the course of an indictment. Guess who else? That's right, Bush's nemesis, Richard Clarke. And what link did Clarke assert? That al Qaeda and the Iraqis were cooperating on the pharmaceutical/bioweapon plant in the Sudan. The fact that Spencer Ackerman didn't mention these, means, by his own standard that omission is dishonest, that he fails his own standard.

Yes, there were links. No, there isn't sufficient evidence that they collaborated on 9/11. What part of that don't you understand -- or choose to pretend not to understand?