Kay Sera Sera

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by wonderwench, Feb 7, 2004.

  1. wonderwench
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    wonderwench Guest

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    James Woolsey's excellent opinion piece of the implications of the Kay report.


    So which is it: Are America's spies a gaggle of fools for believing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? Or is the Bush administration a gang of knaves for lying us into a war?

    Take the spies-as-fools allegation first.

    There was no substantial disagreement between the U.S. and other countries before the war about the likelihood--based on a history of deception--that Saddam Hussein retained weapons of mass destruction. Jacques Chirac warned last February about "the probable possession of weapons of mass destruction by an uncontrollable country, Iraq" and added "the international community is right . . . in having decided that Iraq should be disarmed." David Kay has spoken of German and Russian intelligence reports that "painted a picture of Iraq armed with weapons of mass destruction." The Israelis procured gas masks for every citizen. If Saddam actually disposed of all his weapons and stocks of chemical and biological agent well before last year's war began, many countries were deceived.

    But we are now learning something further from Mr. Kay's recent disclosures: that there were quite specific prewar indications of WMD--"reports of movement" of weapons themselves, of "weapons being assigned to specific units as well as specific locations." This may explain the press reports that appeared in this newspaper and elsewhere late last year. Each captured Iraqi general being interrogated was convinced that, although his own unit had no chemical weapons, the units on his right and left flanks certainly did.

    There are several possible explanations for such indications of the presence of actual weapons. First, Saddam, knowing that he had destroyed his stockpiles, might have spread false stories that he knew would reach our ears in order to intimidate us. We pulled up short of Baghdad in 1991 and he might have thought such lies could help deter us again. He might also have wanted to maintain his reputation for having WMD, as Mr. Kay suggests, to look formidable in the Arab world and intimidate his own people. The oddest possibility Mr. Kay suggests is that Saddam may have been deceived himself by some of his own scientists into paying for non-existent WMD programs while the scientists pocketed the funds. This would amount to his having been our co-victim in a fraud run by other Iraqis.

    A second possibility is that stockpiles were destroyed, but some only at the last minute--as war began--so that these latter did exist when the intelligence estimates were made. There have been intriguing press reports on this point, including a story in the New York Times last April about an Iraqi intelligence officer who said he was asked to destroy chemical weapons material just as the war started. Such a last-minute cleaning up would fit with reported Franco-Russian efforts early last year to help Iraq obtain a cease-fire coupled with thorough inspections.

    Third, reports from both Mr. Kay and earlier ones from intelligence imagery analysts have indicated that some WMD-related material probably crossed into Syria early last year. So some stockpiles may have been exported as the war began. Others may have been hidden then.

    But for last-minute destruction, shipment or hiding, the volumes of biological or chemical agent would have to have been small. Wouldn't stockpiles of WMD themselves be massive, as former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook is fond of suggesting?

    Actually, no. Why? Stockpiles would normally have been composed of biological or chemical "agents," ready to be inserted into weapons. Take anthrax. The Iraqis admitted they had made 8,500 liters (8.5 tons), and Colin Powell in his February speech to the U.N. Security Council noted that the U.N. inspectors thought Saddam could have about three times as much. But even this larger amount would weigh only some 25 tons in liquid form--slightly more than one tractor-trailer load. If reduced to powder, as Mr. Powell suggested in his speech, it could be contained in a dozen or so suitcases. Saddam's "stockpile" of biological agent wasn't in his spider hole with him. But it could have been.

    Where does this leave the idea of an outside investigation? There were six ongoing investigations in the U.S.--two in Congress, three in the Executive, and one under Charles A. Duelfer, Mr. Kay's successor--before President Bush yesterday announced the creation of another commission. It would seem reasonable to have let them finish before starting a seventh. But to jump ahead in a thought-experiment, how might such an outside review propose correcting the spies' foolishness, assuming it found such?

    Take the solution most often proposed--including by Mr. Kay: Put less emphasis on technical intelligence and more on human collection. Well, suppose that CIA director George Tenet had emphasized human intelligence even more than he does already and had succeeded a year ago in recruiting a batch of Iraqi generals as spies--an incredible achievement. But then each one had honestly but falsely reported that Saddam had WMD, at specific locations. We would still have an intelligence failure. What Mr. Kay has described as Iraq's "vortex of corruption" seems to have created an intelligence twilight zone. Maybe better human intelligence could have detected that zone and helped foster more skepticism. There are probably a variety of things that we will be able to learn from the prewar history of WMD estimates. But the indignant should give the rest of us a hint about how U.S. intelligence should have proceeded to get to the truth about the Iraqi WMD programs in these circumstances.

    What about the Bush administration's alleged knavery?

    Mr. Kay dismisses the idea that knavery existed. There is, however, an element of misjudgment within the White House that should be noted. A year ago September it set out a sound policy for the post-Cold War era of rogue dictatorships, terrorism and proliferation of WMD. It said, essentially, that if a terrible dictatorship has both WMD programs and ties to terrorists it may be a candidate for preventive war--in no small measure because such a regime may supply WMD to terrorists. But in the run-up to the war, instead of equally emphasizing the nature of Saddam's regime, with its massive human-rights violations and its ties to terrorist groups, the administration focused almost exclusively on WMD, especially in Mr. Powell's speech to the Security Council.

    It has been suggested that bureaucratic compromises drove that decision--since WMD was the one issue all relevant agencies could agree on. But the history of murder, rape and torture by Saddam's regime is one of the most extraordinary in human history. If one counts the Iranians who died in his war of aggression in the 1980s, he has killed two million people--about 10 times the number killed by Slobodan Milosovic, with whom the Clinton administration went to war twice in the 1990s on human-rights grounds.

    And Iraq's ties with terrorist groups in the '90s are clear. Even if one focuses only on Iraqi ties to Abu Nidal and Ansar-al-Islam, the requirements of the administration's policy would seem to be met. And in the fall of 2002, Mr. Tenet wrote to Congress outlining a decade of connections between Iraq and al Qaeda, including training in poisons, gases and explosives. There was no need to show that Iraq participated in 9/11 or even that it directed al Qaeda in any operations--describing occasional cooperation of the sort that is well chronicled was quite sufficient. The Baathists and al Qaeda were like two Mafia families--they hated, insulted and killed one another, but readily cooperated from time to time against a common enemy. Why not say so?

    Such a three-part emphasis on human rights, terrorist ties and WMD programs would have been solidly in line with the president's own explicit policy. A three-legged stool is more stable than a one-legged one, but for some reason the administration decided not to make all three parts of its case in justifying the decision to go to war. As a result, its very heavy emphasis on WMD to the exclusion of the other two bases of its strategy has left the administration vulnerable to the failure to find WMD stockpiles. Whoever caused that decision to be made may have succeeded in papering over some bureaucratic feuding, but reaped a political whirlwind.


    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110004660
     
  2. tim_duncan2000
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    tim_duncan2000 Active Member

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    I wish more people would read this. This explains a lot, but of course there will always be people who will never be convinced and will just stick their fingers in their ears and go "La la la la. I can't hear you. Bush lied, Bush lied, blah blah blah, no WMD, Bush lied!" and they also will at the same time not think others lied (UN, France, Russia, Germany, many Democrats, etc).
     
  3. eric
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    eric Guest

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    How right you are Tim !;)
     
  4. spillmind
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    cute. and almost even objective!

    first off, i'd like to have you all imagine what it would be like to try and wage this 'war' without that claim of WMD. none of you have even responded to this, because you all know how much resistance and global opposition we encountered even with these claims. that said, try and keep things in perspective

    of course there are. aslo remember that WMD at one time or another is not the same as WMD currently. :laugh:

    one would have thought such an evil man to want to keep a couple to use on our troops! maybe we were too fast for him to use them? :rolleyes:

    now that is a rock solid specific statement if i've ever heard one! funnier yet is believe this stuff hook line and sinker. :laugh:

    you can tell exactly where this slant is going with this statement:
    what a load. listen to colin powell SPEAK:

    http://www.kaicurry.com/gwbush/remindus.swf

    and see how these claims 'were not assertions' and 'actual accounts' enough pussyfooting about on this, it's getting very frustrating when people blatantly ignore TRUTH.:mad:

    'knavery' :laugh: it's much more serious than that!

    hey great! now go look up a bit about algerias record! their military has a record that would make saddam blush! yet, we traded arms and finances for their UN vote for invasion. inconsistencies dispel this garbage arguement. it was far too focus and determined for this to be a reason. besides: CLUSTER BOMBS. nuff said.

    obviously, some people are still confused! it's crystal clear to me:

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/washpost/20040206/ts_washpost/a17286_2004feb5

    and compare that to bush's claim of 45 MINUTES in that movie link i provided.

    all of you jump on the side of the story that favors the bush admin's defense, and it's getting a little ridiculous. IT'S ABOUT TIME WE ADMIT WE WERE WRONG, AND BE TRUTHFUL ABOUT WHY WE REALLY INVADED!
     
  5. eric
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    eric Guest

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    Remember the all the UN Resolutions broken, that alone was justification, and who in the end would have stopped us anyway ?

    Very hard to let between the two when little liberal fruitcakes keep reducing our military and intel budgets, what about the rest of the world, you seemed to ignore this point, as you often do when you can't argue it.

    Who said rock solid ? Sounds like a possibility to me, which we still can not be sure of.

    You are just a little boy wet behind the ears. Of course we do business with bad people when it serves our interests. Grow up boy ! Still doesn't change the fact we took a evil person out of power !

    45 minutes for a nuclear weapon ? I think he was talking about chemical and biological weapons, don't you ?

    Sorry, but you sound like a naive child !
     
  6. jimnyc
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    I've answered you on this already and I'll be happy to do so again. As I previously stated, I would have voted to invade regardless of the WMD claims. None of that intel will be enough to divert attention away from the mass murdering, oppression, rape & torture and breached resolutions. Saddam was a ticking time bomb for far too long and removing him benefits everyone.

    The worst case scenario is that the intel was faulty. There's also the possibility that they are still buried or have been moved to a neighboring country. Maybe they were all destroyed in the past and all the movement and radio intercepts were a clever disguise by Saddam. Saddam gambled when refusing to fully cooperate with UN resolutions. He thumbed his nose at Washington with his rhetoric. He gambled that the USA wouldn't act alone. He lost.

    The truth is that Powell, Rumsfeld, Bush and the rest relayed intel information to the nation as it was delivered to them. They passed them off as fact because that's what they believed it to be. The intel told them one thing. Saddam continually refused to let us verify the claims and refused to verify them himself. The doubt alone was MORE than enough to take action. Saddam blew it.

    Nothing you can say about Algeria will change anything about Saddam and his regime. Do you think the fact that there are other bad people in the world somehow makes Saddam less evil or more evil? One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

    Yes, it's crystal clear to me as well. After reading what Tenet had to say about the Iraq intel, I am now even more convinced that the actions taken to remove Saddam were the proper thing to do.

    Bush's claims had nothing to do with nuclear weapons. If it were believed that he had possession of chemical weapons, it's certainly reasonable to conclude that he could use them in 45 minutes notice.

    How is this the Bush admins defense? The data they released is extremely consistent with what the CIA director says the intel reported to the White House.

    Tell us the 'truth' then, why did the USA really invade Iraq?
     
  7. eric
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    eric Guest

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    Come on Jim, don't you know it is all about the oil and world domination !:rolleyes:
     
  8. jones
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    jones Guest

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    Ya! Its not like Bush and Cheney are BOTH ex-oil industry CEOs or something...:rolleyes:
     
  9. eric
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    eric Guest

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    Still does not change the facts !
     
  10. jimnyc
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    Hey, everyone is entitled to their opinion. As long as they realize that these conspiracy theories without any merit make them look foolish. Hopefully Spillmind has more up his sleeve for us than the 'ol "it's all about oil" conspiracy.
     

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