Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
November 16, 2005
WAR: Deny, Deny, Deny

This Matt Yglesias post is an interesting example of WMD revisionism. Yglesias sites, as an "outlandish" example of "some of the things the administration said before the war" the following statement by Dick Cheney in March 2003:

I have argued in the past, and would again, if we had been able to pre-empt the attacks of 9/11 would we have done it? And I think absolutely. We have to be prepared now to take the kind of bold action that's being contemplated with respect to Iraq in order to ensure that we don't get hit with a devastating attack when the terrorists' organization gets married up with a rogue state that's willing to provide it with the kinds of deadly capabilities that Saddam Hussein has developed and used over the years.

(Emphasis mine). First of all, what, precisely, is wrong with this statement? Yes, we expected to find more in the way of WMD when we got into Iraq, and that absence has a variety of troubling implications. But you can't well deny that Saddam had developed chemical and biological weapons in the past, had tried to develop nuclear weapons in the past, had actually used chemical weapons, had hired terrorists and worked with various international terrorist groups in the past, regarded the US as an enemy, and had a tremendous motive and every opportunity to use such groups to carry out attacks against his enemies that could not easily be traced back to him.

Yglesias says only that "[t]here was absolutely no reason to believe that invading Iraq in March 2003 would be a good way to pre-empt a WMD terrorist attack on the American homeland sponsored by Iraq." But why not? First of all, as of March 2003, the possibility of Saddam sponsoring such a WMD attack at some point in the future was not zero, and was even more emphatically not zero based on the best imperfect information that was available then or going to be available any time soon. Saddam had the motive and the opportunity, and even the various postwar reports have indicated that he had a long-term strategy to develop the means once he could finish the nearly completed task of undermining the corrupt and ineffectual sanctions regime.

Today, by contrast, the chance that the Iraqi regime will sponsor such an attack on the US is zero, and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

If Yglesias' point is that the degree of the threat was overstated by implication in Cheney's statement - well, fair enough. Reasonable minds can differ on that. But as I read his post, Yglesias is either saying there was zero chance of such an attack or that the odds were not reduced by the invasion. And that's nonsense.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:27 AM | War 2005 | Comments (35) | TrackBack (0)

Who's in denial, Crank, you or Yglesias?

Yeah, we also could have nuked Iraq to reduce the chance to zero as well, but that doesn't make it justified.

What is wrong with Cheney's statement? Cheney's statement, while not technically a lie, since it is hypothetical, is clearly a conflation designed to attach Saddam, 9/11 and terrorism at the hip. For you to pretend there is a debate about implications and degrees of threat leads me to believe your mind is not "reasonable."

If it wasn't "Zero" before, what do you suppose it was? A two-percent chance? Less? More?

Of course, since the weapons didn't exist, it always WAS zero, and it cost us over 2,000 troops and $200 billion to find that out and feel tough along the way.

There were other options on the table, and Cheney and his neocon ilk would rather rip the tablecloth out from under the inspection, etc. and start breaking things, so that's what we got.

Posted by: Mr Furious at November 16, 2005 11:29 AM

The probability was not zero at the time (and isn't now, either, since "at some point in the future" covers a very long time), even without the WMD, because the point was about the future.

Personally, I agree with Crank that the probability was decreased...but we can't do the control here, just as we can't know what have would happened if the Dodgers had hired Theo Epstein. But what annoys me the most about the argument Furious presents is that it's not enough to disagree about the assessment of the probabilities, either in hindsight with new information or in hindsight based on what was thought at the time (e.g. that the White Sox second half was so weak that they had no chance in the playoffs). No, Furious et al. have to add their claims about motives and psychobabble (it was about "feeling tough") because in their limited imaginations, no one could disagree on a difficult question like this and still be reasonable or honest.

IMHO, that's the denial.

Posted by: huski at November 16, 2005 12:38 PM

Mr. Furious is Mr. Clueless if he thinks "the weapons didn't exist." What of this little summary?

For the record: Here's a partial list of what didn't make it out of Iraq before the OIF invasion: 1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium, 1,700 gallons of chemical-weapon agents, chemical warheads containing the nerve agent cyclosarin, radioactive materials in powdered form designed for dispersal over population centers, artillery projectiles loaded with binary chemical agents, etc. Assuming Irag had no WMD because only small caches were recovered after Operation Iraqi Freedom began is perilously flawed logic. That, in no way, affirms what he spirited out through Iran and Syria before OIF.

Posted by: Murray at November 16, 2005 1:36 PM

a conflation designed to attach Saddam, 9/11 and terrorism at the hip

Well, the connection between 9/11 and terrorism is pretty obvious.

The connection between Saddam and terrorism requires extensive efforts to ignore, but quite a few people seem to be willing to go to that trouble.

Of course, since the weapons didn't exist, it always WAS zero

Just as the danger of Hitler invading France was zero in 1934. After all, he didn't have the weapons to do so, so it's impossible to conceive that he would ever have obtained them, right? The Russians didn't have the bomb in 1945, so we could be sure they'd never get it, right?

Saddam had had the weapons in the past, and used them. He still had samples left over here and there, some of them more substantial than the stocks of anthrax that caused so much terror in 2001. He wanted to have them again in the future, and had a plan to do so. Who's in denial?

To me, of course, the fact that Saddam had his regime cheer when terrorists tried to kill me on 9/11 was more than enough. To Bush, when you get to the bottom of things, the fact that Saddam hired terrorists to blow up his father may have been enough. As I've said from the beginning, bad intentions are the biggest problem of all - if we didn't learn that from 9/11 we didn't learn anything - and Saddam had them in spades.

Posted by: The Crank at November 16, 2005 1:43 PM


The statement of "Well, the connection between 9/11 and terrorism is pretty obvious" is a giant reach. Saddam was well down on the list of contributing Arab nations in supporting terrorism. Iraq contributed no men or materials for the attacks on 9/11. Also, they were dancing in the streets of Palestine on 9/11.

Actually, we have been placed in a greater danger. Just by removing the head of one state does not reduce the terror threat. It increases the threat in the simple way we can no long monitor or hold accountable a nation if we are attacked again. After this Iraq war is over there will be a few terrorist who have gained a following from fighting our troops. The same way Osama gained his following fighting the Soviets.

Posted by: Clayton Bigsby at November 16, 2005 2:50 PM

Just as the danger of Hitler invading France was zero in 1934. After all, he didn't have the weapons to do so, so it's impossible to conceive that he would ever have obtained them, right? The Russians didn't have the bomb in 1945, so we could be sure they'd never get it, right?

Yeah, Saddam was on the verge of becoming the next Hitler or Stalin. Gimme a break.

I never have said, here, at my blog or anywhere else, that the solution was putting our heads in the sand. Drawing that conclusion from my comments is simply not correct or fair.

In additon, there won't be much of a defense from me for the Democrats decisions then or their maneuvers now to explain their votes in favor either.

The way George H.W. Bush went about the run-up to War was the right way. An honest debate, AFTER the elections, much fuller disclosure of facts, an actual PLAN, all resulting in support within the country and abroad. And a successful and painless (by comparison) military operation.

Dubya and his handlers conceived of a political benefit to what may have been a genuine security concern and sought to exploit it at every turn. Delaying the "new product" until after August. Stovepiping intel, and presenting skewed info to Congress. Using the election to force through a hasty resolution.

They succeded in marketing the War to the public with bullshit statements like Cheney's above, and used it as an effective weapon on the Democrats. After that they turned thier sights on setting up the UN. Allowing and once they were on the verge of being conclusive or useful, undermining the inspections.

All in pursuit of the actual GOAL of having the War not forestalling or avoiding one, or War as a "last resort." That is exactly what it sounds like—I believe the President calculated the risks and rewards and deliberately put troops in harm's way. Despite that decision, they neglected to even properly plan for it. Relying on a team of yes-men and operatives instead of relying on ACTUAL military strategists. Failure to have proper forces. No post-war strategy. Disbanding the Iraqi army, failure to anticipate an insurgency.

Democrats got taken to the fucking cleaners that Fall and everyone knows it. They knew it then, and they know it now. Pretending Bush lied might work as a defelection, but it's bullshit. They had every reason to be cautious in this decision, if not skeptical, and they voted with one thing in mind—midterms. They are every bit as complicit (to me) in the fact that they voted us into this mess.

Bush's pushback strategy has been to quote Dem leaders out of context to make it sound like they were on board. He is pathetic. Pointing out other were wrong is not the same as admitting you were wrong or even demonstrative of learning as you go. As for the Dems, the only defense is that in the proper context, their quotes exonerate there positions, yet in the end they voted for the Resolution anyway.

As for this operation making us safer, I think there is plenty of denial on your side. Loose nukes were always a bigger threat—how's our progress there? How was Osama more likely to get a warhead, through a bitter enemy like Saddam, who didn't actually have one? Or by using Saudi money to buy a Russian warhead on the black market?

How's that swamp-draining going? Are there fewer people motivated to die trying to harm us or more? Do we now have a California-sized training ground with real target for them or not?

The bottom line is this: The inspections would have revealed that Hussein didn't have the weapons we feared. The threat he presented would have been exposed as false. Hussein as a bad actor might even have been removed from power by different means. Is that why we rushed in?

I won't pretend I'm not partisan, but you shouldn't either, and I am sure there are things I am wrong about or in denial on, but that doesn't render me "clueless."

Posted by: Mr Furious at November 16, 2005 2:53 PM

Hey Murray, if Saddam successfully snuck all of his stockpiles out of the country, who is that one on?

That would be Bush. And that is a situation worse than having it contained in Saddam's armories. Ginning up a War to prevent proliferation of WMDs and then letting all the weapons out so we could invade and shut the barn door? Nice job.

Posted by: Mr Furious at November 16, 2005 2:58 PM

What I find fascinating about these arguments FOR attacking Hussein and ridding him of non-existent WMDs is that the follow-on planning for the war seemed to not follow from those arguments.

Sending in only 150,000 troops to rid a country the size of California of WMDs seems to be fairly bad case of planning. Much of my initial opposition to the war was that we were setting up this country for the abject failure we're experiencing now because of our low troop levels. We failed to follow the Powell Doctrine and now here we are again. Apparently, the neocons had to learn Vietnam's lessons for themselves.

This, I believe, was the best consensus argument against the war before the war began. The Republicans were simply unwilling to face the fact that the war would cost at least 1% of GDP and tie down much of our Army. They fired anyone who tried to raise these criticisms (Shinseki and the poor fellow in Treasury) and tried to discredit anyone else they couldn't fire (former Ambassador Wilson). The Republicans had us believing (and I believe Huski and Crank are merely repeating these arguments) that it would all end up in a mushroom cloud for us.

I'm curious, Huski and Crank, how do you reconcile your arguments for ridding Hussein for WMD with the complete lack of planning for the seizing of said WMDs?

Posted by: Allan Benamer at November 16, 2005 3:18 PM

Furious, I blame the foot-dragging of the UN and the oil-for-food criminals running old Europe for giving Saddam way too much of a window to get his most dangerous WMDs out of the country and headed to Syria.

Posted by: Murray at November 16, 2005 4:34 PM

Sorry, Murray. That doesn't wash. We are the ones with the Army to stop it and supposedly "knew where they were".

If containing the weapons before invading wasn't possible, we'd have been better off leaving them in place.

Either the weapons didn't really exist and were never sprited across the border or the Bush plan for war was stunningly incompetent. Your choice.

Posted by: Mr Furious at November 16, 2005 5:11 PM

if you don't like BigMediaMatt's take, try this from the Gadflyer...

"... there's another issue that seems to me to be at the center of this discussion. The claims by the President and his supporters that lots of folks believed what Bush believed, are intended to deflect responsibility from the decisions for which he, as President, was ultimately responsible. In fact, in the Fall of 2003, Bush said: "I will take full responsibility for decisions about war and peace." This is the flipside of Congress' vote in the Fall of 2002 to authorize the President to use force, if necessary, to force Saddam Hussein to comply with various Security Council resolutions, or to punish him for failing to do so. Congress essentially ceded its constitutional responsibility to declare war and instead gave that authority and responsibility to the President.

In other words, even if we grant that the use of pre-war intelligence amounted to honest mistakes - a view I find frankly implausible – there is no escaping the simple fact that the President was the man responsible for launching the war. He had no intention, while pushing the war option during the 2002 mid-term elections, of sharing credit with the Democratic Party for what he surely thought would be a great triumph. His now –it-would-be-comical-if-it-weren't-so-depressing "Mission Accomplished" stunt was intended to reap full political reward for the President and the President alone for what was then thought to have been a successful military campaign. Consequently, he cannot now claim that the Democrats were equal partners in his folly. Furthermore, it's frankly laughable that he and his supporters would try now to claim that President Clinton, in effect, held the same view as Bush. As many have noted, Clinton did not go to war with the information in question. But, more fundamentally, Bush has represented himself for five years as a different, better kind of leader than Clinton – more forthright, more straightforward, more willing to take responsibility for the consequences of decisions he makes. How can it be that now, as the central decision of his administration becomes the object of near universal scorn, that his fall-back position is, in effect – I am no different than Bill Clinton? It is simply preposterous for Republicans now to use Bill Clinton – a man they have vilified as antithetical to everything a leader should be - as the standard of behavior for proper conduct by their President.

On the bright side, it's as sure a sign of desperation as one could hope to find. "

Hang on tight crank, it will be a rough ride on the downward curving path of the wheel of fortune...

you really think history will be kind to the policies and personalities you are defending here?

Posted by: gibson68 at November 16, 2005 8:22 PM

Wrong Crank!!

Before the qar started, Iraq was crawling with weapons inspectors, our military had effectively surrounded the country, and we had already been flying warplanes over the country for years.

In the week's leading up to the war, the chances of Iraq launching a serious attack on any country, let alone the United States, was either zero or damn close to it.

Why couldn't we let the weapons inspectors finish the job?

Posted by: patrick at November 16, 2005 9:02 PM

You know, I find that the revision on the war runs two ways. First, George W. Bush's idea that there was some sort of consensus that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction is far from the truth. Even among Americans, Bush didn't have everyone convinced. Heck, among the international community, he convinced no one he didn’t pay (Turkey) or who didn’t live in his pocket (how’s it hanging, Tony Blair?). There was no unanimity on the subject on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It’s a testament to the rhetoric of the Bush administration that many people don't believe me when I tell them of my pre-war stance. At NO TIME in my life did I believe Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Now, this could be because I was born in 1984 and can’t remember the gulf war.

But it doesn’t matter if you believe me or not, I’ve got the facts on my side. Look at the earliest war protests: they were numerous, and they featured much maligned slogans such as "No Blood for Oil" and the like. No one at these protests believed that Saddam possessed the ability to harm us--only perhaps the will. People were skeptical about the execution of the war, but they were far more skeptical about its rationale.

Some would say these protests were not indicative of the general mood--they'd be partially right. Some would say that the protesters didn’t have open minds, and wouldn’t believe a word out of George W. Bush’s mouth. And given what’s happened, can you blame them? To borrow a line from 41, it might be a “prudent” policy to close your ears when W starts moving his lips.

So though these protests were numerous, nationwide and well attended, they didn’t represent the majority of the nation. The problem is that the majority of the nation didn’t toe the line with the administration, either. This war lacked overwhelming support from the start. Only when the war began did the mainstream start to get behind it, for better or worse. As much as W protests to the contrary, this is his pet war--and the pet war of his administration.

There was a long and anxious build-up to the war. Remember that whole business: daily debates in the media on whether we'd go to war or whether it was justified; speeches at the UN; speeches to the public. Throughout this time there were numerous people who simply didn't believe the President's claims--sure, their were those who didn't trust him, and there were those who were bitter about losing in Florida. But beyond that minority (Who turned out to be completely, totally, and 110% correct) there were those who were apprehensive about the president's numerous and varying rationales for going to war: 23 total separate and individual stories and reasons for going to war were sold to the public.

Heck, they even changed the name of the war on several occasions. What was it to begin with? Operation Infinite Justice? If I were a less kind and honest man--and more narrow minded and stupid-- I'd say he flip-flopped quite a lot on this war.

Heck, you even had paper’s like THE ONION pegging the president on this issue more accurately than the mainstream media could hope to do. I love their first headline of the Bush Administration way back in 2000: “Our long nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over.”

So to put it bluntly, the Bush administration can't rewrite history on this point. He didn't sell the country--or vast parts of it--on the fact that Hussein possessed the capability to hurt us. Sure, many of those were people who were already against him. Many more were turned off by Bush's sales pitch--almost like he was governing by focus group--and the republican party's grasping at any grainy satellite footage or unreliable source to justify a war they'd decided on already. Many Americans were concerned about the war, and gave it only tepid support.

I would have supported this war if the administration--from top to bottom--had been honest. Or consistent. If they'd said "hey, this hussein character's not a good fella--let's get him out of power and bring some stability to the region" I could have gotten behind that. Or if they'd said "hey, let's put down hussein because it's in our interests to do it" I could have understood that.

But this administration is like the gang that can’t shoot straight. At no point in time was there a consensus in America that Iraq possessed the means to hurt our country. There was never anything approaching support in the international community. Only when the war started and the media got “embedded” did the country actually get behind the war. And now, because of this mistake of a war and mistake of a peace, we’re stuck with a legacy of a Pre-pre-emptive strike: a pre-emptive strike being an attack against an enemy that can hurt you. A Pre-Pre-Emptive strike, like the war in Iraq, is a strike against a country that might at some point in the future think about acquiring the means to possibly hurt you.

So to be frank, though many Democrats are backtracking from their previous support, they never represented their constituents anyway. This rewriting of history runs one way, and its not hard to see which direction that is.

Posted by: MikeQ at November 16, 2005 9:25 PM

Isn't it possible that Democrats voted for the war to save their own skins? They knew that they'd be branded traitors in ads at election time, and opted for the easy road out. Is it so hard to blame them? Maybe if the Republicans had been less disengenuous in the past about calling anything that walks on two legs and disagrees with them a traitor, we could have had an actual debate on this war.

Damn. It's times like this that it's frustrating to be an American. It comes with higher standards, guys--and those don't include torture, hiding prisoners, or lying at the highest levels of government.

Posted by: Mikeq at November 16, 2005 9:33 PM

Call me bitter, but I can't wait to read the history books on this one in thirty years. Does Mr. Bush have a dog named Checkers?

Posted by: Mikeq at November 16, 2005 9:40 PM

I found someone else that disagrees with Mr. Furious:

Bill Clinton: "If Saddam rejects peace, and we have to use force, our purpose is clear: We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."

And I think these three hold/held some type of higher government office:

John Kerry: "If you don't believe...Saddam Hussein is a threat with nuclear weapons, then you shouldn't vote for me."

John Edwards: "Serving on the Intelligence Committee and seeing day after day, week after week, briefings on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and his plans on using those weapons, he cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons, it's just that simple. The whole world changes if Saddam ever has nuclear weapons."

Nancy Pelosi: "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons-inspection process."

Posted by: Murray at November 17, 2005 6:52 AM

Interesting thread of comments. It reinforces my belief that people might elect Dem's to Congress or Senate and let them go argue about stuff. However, as they continue down this track they will ensure they will not win national elections because the majority of people will not trust Dems of the current stripe with national security. The absentee landlord style of leadership Clinton used in the 90's may have allowed the stock market to go higher by ignoring the Enron's and Worldcom's which were bubbling under the surface but it also enabled the global threats to reach a point where they felt they could hit us with impunity. The terrorists learned this lesson after the 1993 Trade Center bombing, the USS COLE bombing the African Embassy bombings when he responded by making a speech and "moving on." When Harry Truman was president people could be certain that he would take action to defend our nation even though it was very unpopular at the time. Truman took action to stem the tide of communism in Asia (Korea) knowing that it would likely end his political career. The Dems are no longer the party of Harry Truman. The only chance Dems have at the presidency is to nominate a governor (Warner) who can disavow the nuttiness of the Kennedy, Reid, Pelosi, Durban crowd.

Posted by: LargeBill at November 17, 2005 8:46 AM

Crank, your quote "the chance that the Iraqi regime will sponsor such an attack on the US is zero" misses the point. As 9/11 proved, the gravest danger to the U.S. is not from an attack from another nation-state but from a well-organized rogue party. An attack from Saddam's Iraq, or any organized nation, would be far easier to prevent as the regime was well known and could be more easily followed by our intelligence.

I would argue the invasion, while reducing an attack from the "nation" known as Iraq, made it far more likely the U.S. will be attacked by Iraqis, because it drove potential attackers deeper underground making it more difficult to see the footprints leading up to any attack.

Posted by: Doug at November 17, 2005 9:30 AM

I can't agree with you there Doug. I we're going to operate in a pre-9/11 fashion, will we just sit back again while a guy like Atta is roaming freely and then launches another deadly attack? We'll likely never know how many attacks our current actions have prevented but I prefer that method of action to the alternative.

Posted by: Murray at November 17, 2005 12:22 PM

you really want to be among the rabid hold-out proto-fascist sorts willing to give up habeus and all that? The grown-ups appear not to agree with you.

from the Corner this morning.


Don't know how many of you caught Rep. John Murtha's very angry, very moving speech just now in which he called on the White House to institute an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. CNN didn't air the entire thing, but as I listened to it, I could feel the ground shift. Murtha, as you know, is not a Pelosi-style Chardonnay Democrat; he's a crusty retired career Marine who reminds me of the kinds of beer-slugging Democrats we used to have before the cultural left took over the party. Murtha, a conservative Dem who voted for the war, talked in detail about the sacrifices being borne by our soldiers and their families, and about his visits out to Walter Reed to look after the maimed, and how we've had enough, it's time to come home. He was hell on the president too.

If tough, non-effete guys like Murtha are willing to go this far, and can make the case in ways that Red America can relate to -- and listening to him talk was like listening to my dad, who's about the same age, and his hunting buddies -- then the president is in big trouble. I'm sure there's going to be an anti-Murtha pile-on in the conservative blogosphere, but from where I sit, conservatives would be fools not to take this man seriously.
Posted at 11:27 AM

Posted by: gibson68 at November 17, 2005 12:58 PM

Hey, LargeBill, this one's for you: Why the hate on Dick Durbin? I'm from illinois, and he's widely liked and respected? Sure, there was some manufactured controversy about him earlier, but that's just what I said it was--manufactured. Every time I've seen him he's impressed me. For my money, Obama and Durbin are the two best representatives from any state.

Posted by: MikeQ at November 17, 2005 1:15 PM

Don't be so sure, Gibson. These are the same folks who called Max Cleland "un-American," because he had the temerity to question the case for war. Cleland is, as I'm sure you all know, the fella who lost three of his limbs in the service of his country. Saxby Chambliss, his opponent, didn't serve at all, if I'm not mistaken.

I hope you're right that they'll be proven foolish to stand against a guy like Murtha, but nothing these people do or say surprises me anymore.

Posted by: Mike at November 17, 2005 1:15 PM

When historians look at the debacle that was Operation Iraqi Freedom, I think several things will come out:

1. The administration of Dubya will be remembered as major propagandists with little imagination. The names of some real operations past echo with an evocation of importance: Overlord, Desert Shield, Desert Storm. Operation Iraqui Freedom sounds like the sound bite it was meant to be.

2. Saddam was the leader of a rogue state that absolutely could have represented a future threat. No question, Saddam fudged what he could to make him (as all bullies do) look tougher than he was. Hitler did that in Nuremberg, use every single air raid searchlight, make everyone think he had way more. So a reasonable policy could, and should have been based on an actual threat. If you then win the country over, fine, we have reasons to go to war.

3. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld all lied, plain and simple. Look at the clips and tapes: all linked Iraq to Al Qaeda (you know, the guys Bush hasn't mentioned in a month of Sundays); they weren't linked, Iran and bin Laden were lonked.

4. They fed loads of misinformation to Powell, the one cabinetmaker with any real standing among the entire country, as well as the world. Once he realized he was taken, he left.

5. Rumsfeld, Mr. Experienced war runner (well Viet Nam runner awayer anyway) decides how to invade a country. Colin Powell again, you know, a man who actually did it, advises a different way. So now a military debacle is ready to run. This leads to point 6:

6. When FDR ran things, he had several people, many of whom didn't get along, develop various plans for occupation of postwar Germany and Japan. They spent a good long time at it, each having their own methods (Morganthau for instance, proposed cleaning Germany out and making it basically a big farm--OK he was more complex in his planning than that, but you get the idea). Anyway, at war's end, these very big books dealing with all sorts of contingecies are there, ready to roll. I think the current administration could at least have had a comic book, or Will Eisner book on what to do, instead of the index card or so they had (and presumably lost).

Cheny is lying now, he was lying then, he is doing just what he is best at. And obfuscating it by saying, "Well Clinton knew Saddam was a threat." is not answering the question, but avoiding it. We have a current administration that fails to understand the importance of actually being able to administer, instead of seeing the Federal Government as a cash and patronage cow. Sooner or later, you run out of milk.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at November 17, 2005 1:25 PM

Mike, get a grip. That Cleland nonsense is long debunked. A) He was never called "Un-American". That was manufactured by the Kerry crowd. B) To the extent that he did take a beating, it was due to his irresponsible party line votes regard post 9/11 security. He took his talking points re DHS and the like from Daschle. It did not play well in Georiga. Go figure. Gibby, interesting point. I saw the same post. I'm looking to see how commentators other than Dreher interpet the speech. He had an Andy Sullivan type breakdown around Katrina, not sure he has stabilized. The speech is worthy of note regardless.

Posted by: abe at November 17, 2005 1:38 PM

The intelligence was being stovepiped and politicized, we all know that. The administration said "everyone thought there were weapons", which of course is not true. Scott Ritter, the former weapons inspector, was pretty clear that he thought this government was reaching, and it was. I too will not defend the Democrats voting for the authorization for force, but really that vote to some in Congress was not necessarily a vote "for the war", but a vote in solidarity to Saddam to say, "let the inspectors in, or else"...which worked, if you recall. If there was any doubt, it was resolved before the forces went in. The Downing Street Minutes prove that the intelligence was being fixed around the policy. Think of what that has done to our international credibility. Now when we say "our intelligence says (name your country) is developing nuclear capabilities", other nations, to their peril perhaps, are going to think we are again crying wolf...owitz.

Posted by: AstrosFan at November 17, 2005 2:39 PM

Astro, you are correct, "everyone" is inaccurate. But all ranking Dems from the Clinton admin, all ranking members of Congress from both parties, and a concensus in the international community including Kofi and the French intel services were on the same page. Pretty large group, right or wrong. The Bush admin was operating on the side on an overwhelming concensus; but not everyone. What's done is done, the best debate for the country and the world is what is next. WMD data debates are best left to historians, at least while we still have boots on the ground.

Posted by: abe at November 17, 2005 3:03 PM


I stand corrected regarding what was or wasn't said regarding Cleland. I still don't like the implications of juxtaposing his picture with those of Saddam or Osama, but I'll admit it's not the same as calling him "un-American."

That said, I'm not sure what "irresponsible" votes are, nor do I see the need to leave "WMD data debates . . . to historians, at least while we still have boots on the ground." That's you're opinion, Abe, and you're entitled to it.

There are those among us, however, who want to finish the job in Iraq, yet still think it's important to know whether their president lied about the justifications for war.

Posted by: Mike at November 17, 2005 4:17 PM

Wow. Is this the most comments ever for a Crank post? Crank is, of course, exactly right. As John McCain said just the other day: "I think it's a lie to say that the president lied to the American people." There is absolutely NO evidence that the President lied.

Now on to weightier subjects: Mike Cameron for Xavier somebody? WTF? Is Steve Phillips back in charge?

Posted by: Al at November 17, 2005 4:31 PM

Unless it's an interim move -- e.g., clear salary for Delgado; move Nady in another, bigger trade -- I can't understand it. Other than his age (27), Nady brings nothing to the table. Even his decent BA/OBP vs. righties is mitigated by a lack of power (~450 slg career vs. righties). Plus, the Mets declined in their one area of strength -- outfield quality, depth and defense.

Finally, I'm disturbed at Minaya's handling of Cameron. Not that he shouldn't have moved him; I'm fine with that. But his constant attempts to shuttle him out, effectively reduced his value on the market. A 30 year old, gold-glove CF with 25-30 HR power should garner more than a nobody firstbaseman with 750 career ABs.

Posted by: Mike at November 17, 2005 4:45 PM

"5. Rumsfeld, Mr. Experienced war runner (well Viet Nam runner awayer anyway)" - Daryl Rosenblat

Mr. Rosenblat, I don't understand your comment. Could you explain?

"Mr. Rumsfeld attended Princeton University on academic and NROTC scholarships (A.B., 1954) and served in the U.S. Navy (1954-57) as an aviator and flight instructor. In 1957, he transferred to the Ready Reserve and continued his Naval service in flying and administrative assignments as a drilling reservist until 1975. He transferred to the Standby Reserve when he became Secretary of Defense in 1975 and to the Retired Reserve with the rank of Captain in 1989."

Posted by: Lesley at November 17, 2005 4:49 PM

Nady's minor league numbers were strong, but he couldn't get regular playing time in San Diego for some reason (Bochy). He's shown the ability to hit, but I don't care for his fielding. The trade really doesn't seem to make sense for New York, though, unless they intend to flip Nady in another deal.

Posted by: Richard at November 17, 2005 5:05 PM


I can't even agree with you that his minor league stats are that good. Ripping it up at 22 in A ball, and then again at 25 in the PCL (where hitting numbers are always inflated) doesn't impress me.

Posted by: Mike at November 17, 2005 5:18 PM

Mike, re: "There are those among us, however, who want to finish the job in Iraq, yet still think it's important to know whether their president lied about the justifications for war. " You are absolutely correct and entitled. I did not mean to imply otherwise. I do think it's utterly counterproductive for the "leadership" in DC to get caught up in this secondary, at best, issue. The Cameron move has to be a salary dump, does not make sense on any other level. Since Omar moved first, I expect the Marlins/Sox/??? to attempt to extract a high price in any exchange. Buckle up, the offseason looks to be a bumpy ride.

Posted by: abe at November 17, 2005 5:32 PM

Abe...what was not consensus was whether we needed to attack Iraq while fighting a real war on terror in Afghanistan, and whether insisting on more work from the weapons inspectors was the way to go. No one was saying let Saddam roam free and go get chem/nuclear/bio weapons, what they were saying was let's verify he has none or no capability to make them. What this administration was saying was not "we think he has them", but "we know he has them and where they are". I fell for that, hook line and sinker, and I think there were many americans doing the same. It was a manipulation of the intelligence of the highest order. They all "thought" he had them, but only W and his cronies were saying they "knew where they are". And that is a big difference.

I think it is both important to punish those that did wrong as it is to figure out what to do with the mess these same people created. I had hoped that would have been done in the elections, but the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire again stuck us Texans with a candidate that was simply not a good one. But he was better than the alternative, that's for sure. And America is realizing that in the recent polling data...

Posted by: AstrosFan at November 17, 2005 5:35 PM

Fair points, Strosfan. The facts will continue to trickle out for the next decade or so. Which is why I do not put a large weighting on current opinion, mine or others. Unless there is an election pending (next 4-6months) polling data is irrelevant. That said the White House pushback will probably get Bush a 5-10pt bump in the next 6 weeks, if you care. Regarding Gibson's comment about Murtha, looks like Dreher missed the boat yet again. As discussed in Slate, , Murtha's position, Iraq is "unwinnable," was a matter of public record for over a year. While his standing gives his views weight; there is no change of opinion, no "ground shift," as Rod referred to it. Most unfortunate in an ocean of Bushitler/Bush lied/People Died etc etc, the thoughts of this retired Marine will barely be heard. That's why defining the debate, and manner in which it is conducted, matter a great deal.

Posted by: abe at November 18, 2005 12:16 PM
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