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Thread: The War in Iraq

  1. #31

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    June 14, 2003

    The Boys Who Cried Wolfowitz

    By BILL KELLER

    We're now up to Day 87 of the largely fruitless hunt for Iraq's unconventional weapons. Allegations keep piling up that the Bush administration tried to scam the world into war by exaggerating evidence of the Iraqi threat. One critic has pronounced it "arguably the worst scandal in American political history." So you might reasonably ask a supporter of the war, How do you feel about that war now?

    Thanks for asking.

    One easy answer is that between the excavation of mass graves, which confirms that we have rid the world of a horror, and President Bush's new willingness to engage the thankless tangle of Middle East diplomacy, which raises the hope that Iraq was more than a hit-and-run exercise, the war seems to have changed some important things for the better. This is true, but not quite enough.

    Another easy answer is that it's not over yet. Just as we have yet to prove that we can transform a military conquest into a real Mission Accomplished, we have yet to complete our search of a country that, as Californians must be very tired of hearing, is the size of California. This is also true, but likewise inadequate.

    I supported the war, with misgivings about the haste, the America-knows-best attitude and our ability to win the peace. The deciding factor for me was not the monstrosity of the regime (routing tyrants is a noble cause, but where do you stop?), nor the opportunity to detoxify the Middle East (another noble cause, but dubious justification for a war when hardly anyone else in the world supports you). No, I supported it mainly because of the convergence of a real threat and a real opportunity.

    The threat was a dictator with a proven, insatiable desire for dreadful weapons that would eventually have made him, or perhaps one of his sadistic sons, a god in the region. The fact that he gave aid and at least occasional sanctuary to practitioners of terror added to his menace. And at the end his brazen defiance made us seem weak and vulnerable, an impression we can ill afford. The opportunity was a moment of awareness and political will created by Sept. 11, combined with the legal sanction reaffirmed by U.N. Resolution 1441. The important thing to me was never that Saddam Hussein's threat was "imminent" — although Sept. 11 taught us that is not such an easy thing to know — but that the opportunity to do something about him was finite. In a year or two, we would be distracted and Iraq would be back in the nuke-building business.

    Even if you throw out all the tainted evidence, there was still what prosecutors call probable cause to believe that Saddam was harboring frightful weapons, and was bent on acquiring the most frightful weapons of all. The Clinton administration believed so. Two generations of U.N. inspectors believed so. It was not a Bush administration fabrication that Iraq had, and failed to account for, massive quantities of anthrax and VX nerve gas and other biological and chemical weapons. Saddam was under an international obligation to say where the poisons went, but did not.

    What the Bush administration did was gild the lily — disseminating information that ranged from selective to preposterous. The president himself gave credence to the claim that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Africa, a story that (as Seymour Hersh's investigations leave little doubt) was based on transparently fraudulent information. Colin Powell in his February performance at the U.N. insisted that those famous aluminum tubes Iraq bought were intended for bomb-making, although the technical experts at the Department of Energy had made an awfully strong case that the tubes were for conventional rocket launchers. And as James Risen disclosed in The Times this week, two top Qaeda planners in custody told American interrogators — one of them well before the war was set in motion — that Osama bin Laden had rejected the idea of working with Saddam. That inconclusive but potent evidence was kept quiet in the administration's zeal to establish a meaningful Iraqi connection to the fanatical war on America.

    The motives for the dissembling varied. The hawks hyped the case (profusely) to prove we were justified in going to war, with or without allies. Mr. Powell hyped it (modestly) in the hope that the war, which he knew the president had already decided to wage, would not be a divisive, unilateral exercise. The president either believed what he wanted to believe or was given a stacked deck of information, and it's a close call which of those possibilities is scarier.

    Those who say flimflam intelligence drove us to war, though, have got things backward. It seems much more likely that the decision to make war drove the intelligence.

    The origins of this may be well intentioned. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, the most dogged proponent of war against Iraq, is also a longtime skeptic of American institutional intelligence-gathering. He has argued over the years, from within the government and from outside, that the C.I.A. and its sister agencies often fail to place adequate emphasis on what they don't know, and that they "mirror-image" — make assumptions about what foreign regimes will do based on what we would do.

    One tempting solution has been to deputize smart thinkers from outside the intelligence fraternity — a Team B — to second-guess the analysis of the A Team professionals. Mr. Wolfowitz was part of a famous 1976 Team B that attacked the C.I.A. for underestimating the Soviet threat. These days the top leadership of the Defense Department is Team B. Mr. Wolfowitz and his associates have assembled their own trusted analysts to help them challenge the established intelligence consensus.

    Who would argue that the spooks' work should not stand up to rigorous cross-examination? But in practice, B-Teaming is often less a form of intellectual discipline than of ideological martial arts.

    Here's how it might have worked in the Bush administration:

    The A Team (actually, given the number of spy agencies that pool intelligence on major problems, it's more like the A-through-M team) prepares its analysis of, let's say, the Iraqi nuclear program. The report is cautious, equivocal and — particularly since U.N. inspectors left Iraq in 1998 — based on close calls about defector reports, commercial transactions and other flimsy evidence.

    The B Team comes in with fresh eyes, and fresh assumptions. One assumption, another Wolfowitz mantra, is that more weight should be given to the character of the regime — in Saddam's case, his transcendent evil and megalomania. While the C.I.A. may say that we have insufficient evidence to conclude that Saddam has reconstituted his nuclear program, Team B starts from the premise that it is just the kind of thing Saddam would do, and it is dangerous to assume he didn't.

    Then Team B dips into the raw intelligence and fishes out information that supports its case, tidbits that the A Team may have rejected as unreliable. The Pentagon takes this ammo to an interagency review, where it is used to beat the A Team (the C.I.A. and the Defense Intelligence Agency) into submission. Maybe the agencies put up a fight, but (1) much of their own evidence is too soft to defend with great conviction, and (2) by this time the president has announced his version of the facts, and the political tide is all running in one direction.


    When Team B seems to have the blessing of the boss, it goes from being a source of useful dissent to being an implement of intimidation. As formidable a figure as Mr. Powell, who resisted pressure to include the most arrant nonsense in his U.N. briefing, still ended up arguing a case he told confidants he did not entirely believe, specifically on the questions of Iraq's nuclear program and connections with Al Qaeda.

    By the time a Team B version of events has been debunked, it has already served its purpose. That 1976 Team B, by assuming the most dire of Soviet intentions and overlooking the slow collapse of the Soviet economy, came up with estimates of Soviet military strength that we later learned to be ridiculously inflated. But the cold warriors who ran it succeeded in setting back dιtente and helped to elect Ronald Reagan. The 2003 Team B seems to have convinced most Americans that Saddam had nuclear arms and was in bed with Osama bin Laden.

    But the consequences of crying wolf — and the belief is widespread among the dispirited spies of the A Team that the administration did exactly that — are grave. Honest, careful intelligence is our single most important weapon in the global effort against terrorism. It is also critical to winning the support of allies against nuclear proliferation, most urgently in North Korea and Iran. Already rather compelling evidence of Iran's development of nuclear weaponry is being dismissed as just more smoke from the Bush propaganda machine.

    So far, the passion to investigate the integrity of American intelligence-gathering belongs mostly to the doves, whose motives are subject to suspicion and who, in any case, do not set the agenda. The pro-war Democrats are dying to change the subject to the economy. The Republicans are in no mood to second-guess a victory. Just when we really need some of that Team B spirit, the hawks have chickened out.

    The truth is that the information-gathering machine designed to guide our leaders in matters of war and peace shows signs of being corrupted. To my mind, this is a worrisome problem, but not because it invalidates the war we won. It is a problem because it weakens us for the wars we still face. *


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  2. #32

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    June 20, 2003

    Saddam's Bombs? We'll Find Them
    By KENNETH M. POLLACK

    WASHINGTON
    Where are Iraq's weapons of mass destruction? It's a good question, and unfortunately we don't yet have a good answer. There is hope that the capture of Abid Hamid Mahmoud al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein's closest aide, will provide the first solid clues. In any event, the mystery will be solved in good time; the search for Iraq's nonconvential weapons program has only just begun.

    In the meantime, accusations are mounting that the Bush administration made up the whole Iraqi weapons threat to justify an invasion. That is just not the case — America and its allies had plenty of evidence before the war, and before President Bush took office, indicating that Iraq was retaining its illegal weapons programs.

    As for allegations that some in the administration may have used slanted intelligence claims in making their case against Saddam Hussein, they seem to have merit and demand further investigation. But if the truth was stretched, it seems to have been done primarily to justify the timing of an invasion, not the merits of one.

    The fact that the sites we suspected of containing hidden weapons before the war turned out to have nothing in them is not very significant. American intelligence agencies never claimed to know exactly where or how the Iraqis were hiding what they had — not in 1995, not in 1999 and not six months ago. It is very possible that the "missing" facilities, weaponized agents, precursor materials and even stored munitions all could still be hidden in places we never would have thought to look. This is exactly why, before the war, so few former weapons inspectors had confidence that a new round of United Nations inspections would find the items they were convinced Iraq was hiding.

    At the heart of the mystery lies the fact that the Iraqis do not seem to have deployed any stocks of munitions filled with nonconventional weapons. Why did Saddam Hussein not hit coalition troops with a barrage of chemical and biological weapons rather than allow his regime to fall? Why did we not find them in ammunition dumps, ready to be fired?

    Actually, there are many possible explanations. Saddam Hussein may have underestimated the likelihood of war and not filled any chemical weapons before the invasion. He may have been killed or gravely wounded in the "decapitation" strike on the eve of the invasion and unable to give the orders. Or he may have just been surprised by the extremely rapid pace of the coalition's ground advance and the sudden collapse of the Republican Guard divisions surrounding Baghdad. It is also possible that Iraq did not have the capacity to make the weapons, but given the prewar evidence, this is still the least likely explanation.

    The one potentially important discovery made so far by American troops — two tractor-trailers found in April and May that fit the descriptions of mobile germ-warfare labs given by Iraqi defectors over the years — might well point to a likely explanation for at least part of the mystery: Iraq may have decided to keep only a chemical and biological warfare production capability rather than large stockpiles of the munitions themselves. This would square with the fact that several dozen chemical warfare factories were rebuilt after the first gulf war to produce civilian pharmaceuticals, but were widely believed to be dual-use plants capable of quickly being converted back to chemical warfare production.

    In truth, this was always the most likely scenario. Chemical and biological warfare munitions, especially the crude varieties that Iraq developed during the Iran-Iraq War, are dangerous to store and handle and they deteriorate quickly. But they can be manufactured and put in warheads relatively rapidly — meaning that there is little reason to have thousands of filled rounds sitting around where they might be found by international inspectors. It would have been logical for Iraq to retain only some means of production, which could be hidden with relative ease and then used to churn out the munitions whenever Saddam Hussein gave the word.

    Still, no matter what the trailers turn out to be, the failure so far to find weapons of mass destruction in no way invalidates the prewar intelligence data indicating that Iraq had the clandestine capacity to build them. There has long been an extremely strong case — based on evidence that largely predates the Bush administration — that Iraq maintained programs in weapons of mass destruction. It was this evidence, along with reports showing the clear failure of United Nations efforts to impede Iraq's progress, that led the Clinton administration to declare a policy of "regime change" for Iraq in 1998.

    In 1995, for example, United Nations inspectors found Russian-made ballistic-missile gyroscopes at the bottom of the Tigris River; Jordanian officials intercepted others being smuggled into Iraq that same year. In July 1998, international inspectors discovered an Iraqi document that showed Baghdad had lied about the number of chemical bombs it had dropped during the Iran-Iraq War, leaving some 6,000 such weapons unaccounted for. Iraq simply refused to concede that the document even existed.

    These episodes, and others like them, explain why many former Clinton administration officials, including myself (I was on the staff of the National Security Council in the 90's), agreed with the Bush administration that a war would likely be necessary to prevent Iraq from acquiring nuclear and other weapons. We may not have agreed with the Bush team's timing or tactics, but none of us doubted the fundamental intelligence basis of its concerns about the Iraqi threat.

    As for the estimates the Bush administration presented regarding Iraq's holdings of weapons-related materials, they came from unchallenged evidence gathered by United Nations inspectors (in many cases, from records of the companies that sold the materials to Iraq in the first place). For instance, Iraq admitted importing 200 to 250 tons of precursor agents for VX nerve gas; it claimed to have destroyed these chemicals but never proved that it had done so. Even Hans Blix, the last head weapons inspector and a leading skeptic of the need for an invasion, admitted that the Iraqis refused to provide a credible accounting for these materials.

    And it wasn't just the United States that was concerned about Iraq's efforts. By 2002, British, Israeli and German intelligence services had also concluded that Iraq was probably far enough along in its nuclear weapons program that it would be able to put together one or more bombs at some point in the second half of this decade. The Germans were actually the most fearful of all — in 2001 they leaked their estimate that Iraq might be able to develop its first workable nuclear device in 2004.

    Nor was it just government agencies that were alarmed. In the summer of 2002 I attended a meeting with more than a dozen former weapons inspectors from half a dozen countries, along with another dozen experts on Iraq's weapons programs. Those present were asked whether they believed Iraq had a clandestine centrifuge lab operating somewhere; everyone did. Several even said they believed the Iraqis had a covert calutron program going as well. (Centrifuge and calutron operations allow a country to enrich uranium and produce the fissile material for a nuclear bomb.)


    At no point before the war did the French, the Russians, the Chinese or any other country with an intelligence operation capable of collecting information in Iraq say it doubted that Baghdad was maintaining a clandestine weapons capability. All that these countries ever disagreed with the United States on was what to do about it.

    Which raises the real crux of the slanted-intelligence debate: the timing of the war. Why was it necessary to put aside all of our other foreign policy priorities to go to war with Iraq in the spring of 2003? It was always the hardest part of the Bush administration's argument to square with the evidence. And, distressingly, there seems to be more than a little truth to claims that some members of the administration skewed, exaggerated and even distorted raw intelligence to coax the American people and reluctant allies into going to war against Iraq this year.

    Before the war, some administration officials clearly tended to emphasize in public only the most dire aspects of the intelligence agencies' predictions. For example, of greatest importance were the estimates of how close Iraq was to obtaining a nuclear weapon. The major Western intelligence services essentially agreed that Iraq could acquire one or more nuclear bombs within about four to six years. However, all also indicated that it was possible Baghdad might be able to do so in as few as one or two years if, and only if, it were able to acquire fissile material on the black market.

    This latter prospect was not very likely. The Iraqis had been trying to buy fissile material since the 1970's and had never been able to do so. Nevertheless, some Bush administration officials chose to stress the one-to-two-year possibility rather than the more likely four-to-six year scenario. Needless to say, if the public felt Iraq was still several years away from acquiring a nuclear weapon rather than just a matter of months, there probably would have been much less support for war this spring.

    Moreover, before the war I heard many complaints from friends still in government that some Bush officials were mounting a ruthless campaign over intelligence estimates. I was told that when government analysts wrote cautious assessments of Iraq's capabilities, they were grilled and forced to go to unusual lengths to defend their judgments, and some were chastized for failing to come to more alarming conclusions. None of this is illegal, but it was perceived as an attempt to browbeat analysts into either changing their estimates or shutting up and ceding the field to their more hawkish colleagues.

    More damning than the claims of my former colleagues has been some of the investigative reporting done since the war. Particularly troubling are reports that the administration knew its contention that Iraq tried to purchase uranium from Niger was based on forged documents. If true, it would be a serious indictment of the administration's handling of the war.

    As important as this debate is, what may ultimately turn out to be the biggest concern over the Iraqi weapons program is the question of whose hands it is now in. If we do confirm that those two trailers are mobile biological warfare labs, we are faced with a tremendous problem. If the defectors' reports about the rates at which such mobile labs were supposedly constructed are correct, there are probably 22 more trailers still out there. Where are they? Syria? Iran? Jordan? Still somewhere in Iraq? Or have they found their way into the hands of those most covetous — Osama bin Laden and his confederates?

    Nor can we allow our consideration of weapons of mass destruction and politicized intelligence to be a distraction from the most important task at hand: rebuilding Iraq. History may forgive the United States if we don't find the arsenal we thought we would. No one will forgive us if we botch the reconstruction and leave Iraq a worse mess than we found it.

    Kenneth M. Pollack is director of research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and the author of "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq."

    Copyright 2003*The New York Times Company

  3. #33

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    June 24, 2003

    Truth, Lies and the War (3 Letters)

    To the Editor:

    The issue raised in "Bush May Have Exaggerated, but Did He Lie?" (Week in Review, June 22) is a distinction without a difference.

    Exaggerating and lying are both strategies for the purpose of manipulation. Both, when exposed, lead to reduced credibility; and both contribute to feelings of cynicism and powerlessness.

    If manipulated by an exaggeration or by a lie, one feels equally deceived.

    It does not make the costs of a pre-emptive war more acceptable to know that it might have been justified to the American public by an exaggeration rather than a lie.

    To even have a discussion on whether a president exaggerated or lied concerning war suggests that something is dreadfully wrong with current standards of leadership and the creation of public policy.
    JOHN HACKENBURG
    Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., June 22, 2003

    •
    To the Editor:

    Your parsing of the varieties of presidential deceit misses the point ("Bush May Have Exaggerated, but Did He Lie?," Week in Review, June 22).

    The president of the United States, when speaking to its citizens on matters of state, is obliged to tell the truth. In that realm, he is not a salesman, and we are not potential buyers.

    There's nothing much that we can do about the endless spin that comes our way from the campaign trail. But when it comes from the Oval Office, we are obliged to denounce it loudly and clearly.
    JAMES GAUER
    New York, June 22, 2003

    •
    To the Editor:

    Re "Bush May Have Exaggerated, but Did He Lie?" (Week in Review, June 22):

    Critics of President Bush err when they focus on weapons of mass destruction. The real lie is about the "imminent threat" to our country. That was the stated justification for the hurry to war.
    FRANK R. MORRIS
    Castle Rock, Colo., June 22, 2003


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  4. #34

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    June 24, 2003

    Denial and Deception

    By PAUL KRUGMAN

    Politics is full of ironies. On the White House Web site, George W. Bush's speech from Oct. 7, 2002 — in which he made the case for war with Iraq — bears the headline "Denial and Deception." Indeed.

    There is no longer any serious doubt that Bush administration officials deceived us into war. The key question now is why so many influential people are in denial, unwilling to admit the obvious.

    About the deception: Leaks from professional intelligence analysts, who are furious over the way their work was abused, have given us a far more complete picture of how America went to war. Thanks to reporting by my colleague Nicholas Kristof, other reports in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and a magisterial article by John Judis and Spencer Ackerman in The New Republic, we now know that top officials, including Mr. Bush, sought to convey an impression about the Iraqi threat that was not supported by actual intelligence reports.

    In particular, there was never any evidence linking Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda; yet administration officials repeatedly suggested the existence of a link. Supposed evidence of an active Iraqi nuclear program was thoroughly debunked by the administration's own experts; yet administration officials continued to cite that evidence and warn of Iraq's nuclear threat.

    And yet the political and media establishment is in denial, finding excuses for the administration's efforts to mislead both Congress and the public.

    For example, some commentators have suggested that Mr. Bush should be let off the hook as long as there is some interpretation of his prewar statements that is technically true. Really? We're not talking about a business dispute that hinges on the fine print of the contract; we're talking about the most solemn decision a nation can make. If Mr. Bush's speeches gave the nation a misleading impression about the case for war, close textual analysis showing that he didn't literally say what he seemed to be saying is no excuse. On the contrary, it suggests that he knew that his case couldn't stand close scrutiny.

    Consider, for example, what Mr. Bush said in his "denial and deception" speech about the supposed Saddam-Osama link: that there were "high-level contacts that go back a decade." In fact, intelligence agencies knew of tentative contacts between Saddam and an infant Al Qaeda in the early 1990's, but found no good evidence of a continuing relationship. So Mr. Bush made what sounded like an assertion of an ongoing relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, but phrased it cagily — suggesting that he or his speechwriter knew full well that his case was shaky.

    Other commentators suggest that Mr. Bush may have sincerely believed, despite the lack of evidence, that Saddam was working with Osama and developing nuclear weapons. Actually, that's unlikely: why did he use such evasive wording if he didn't know that he was improving on the truth? In any case, however, somebody was at fault. If top administration officials somehow failed to apprise Mr. Bush of intelligence reports refuting key pieces of his case against Iraq, they weren't doing their jobs. And Mr. Bush should be the first person to demand their resignations.

    So why are so many people making excuses for Mr. Bush and his officials?

    Part of the answer, of course, is raw partisanship. One important difference between our current scandal and the Watergate affair is that it's almost impossible now to imagine a Republican senator asking, "What did the president know, and when did he know it?"

    But even people who aren't partisan Republicans shy away from confronting the administration's dishonest case for war, because they don't want to face the implications.

    After all, suppose that a politician — or a journalist — admits to himself that Mr. Bush bamboozled the nation into war. Well, launching a war on false pretenses is, to say the least, a breach of trust. So if you admit to yourself that such a thing happened, you have a moral obligation to demand accountability — and to do so in the face not only of a powerful, ruthless political machine but in the face of a country not yet ready to believe that its leaders have exploited 9/11 for political gain. It's a scary prospect.

    Yet if we can't find people willing to take the risk — to face the truth and act on it — what will happen to our democracy? *


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  5. #35

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    For some, war is an unjustifiable evil; there are no circumstances under which violence is acceptable, in a word pacifism. *If that is the noble position from which one opposes US agression -kudos. *But if one uses specious and deceptive arguements to achieve this aim, (nonviolence), how does the use of manipulative information in this case trump its use in justifying war? *Imbedded within the arguements against Bush's justification is a moral judgement- the means to nonviolence do not need to be justified, for the existence of a wonderfully idealistic world in which wars don't exist will be the ultimate justification. *For the sake of honesty I wish this dovish opposition would, rather than finger wagging about deception, wag away about violence in all its forms, from oppresion to genocide. *I think it is fair to say the loudest detractors of the Iraq war would find lying to prevent a war totally acceptable.

  6. #36

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    There is no sign of pacifism in any of those texts. Your assumption rests on nothing objective.

  7. #37

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    Ok let me try again if Bush were prevented from being re-elected by deception or lying, that would be justifiable as a greater good.

    What I am trying to hone in on, is the lack of intellectual honesty involved in most, if not all morally based arguements, and I mean of all stripes and positions. *Most things can be read two ways.

    (Edited by Jasonik at 2:11 pm on June 24, 2003)

  8. #38

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    In other words, lying to achieve a goal one believes in is a justifiable means to an end. Someone else lying to achieve a goal one disagrees with is however completely unacceptable. That being said of partisans on both the right and the left. Lying on ones own part is always acceptable, because one considers oneself to be right, and pursuing the just cause, while ones opponent is clearly wrong in priciple and therefor any lie or thier part merely exposes their unjust intent.

    In a word: hypocrisy.

  9. #39

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    Are these pompous lectures supposed to have any relevance or are you two just frustrated that your side is under criticism?

  10. #40

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    > ...your side is under criticism...

    My side?

    Your choice of words is so revealing about how partisan your position is. I'm an independent. I have no party affiliation. I did not even vote for the current administration. I was also very careful in the neutrality with which I crafted my statement, yet you will respond as you do, regardless.

    It also humours me because I was realy just elaborating with Jasonik, anyway.


    (Edited by chris at 9:39 pm on June 26, 2003)

  11. #41

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    Yes, well, if your post is restricted to such a limited public, send a personal message instead. "Your side", that is, the pro-war party - as the context suggests. You have the nerve to proclaim neutrality after a lesson on honesty, as if the latter came out of nowhere. You can conjecture hypocrisy if you want, or elaborate a trite theory, but if it bears no factual relation to the topic at hand, keep it to yourself.

  12. #42

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    I was merely questioning the 'objective' tone of the articles posted. *There seemed an air of moral indignation, and victimization in the Op-Ed pieces. *The right to question the Gov't is a much heralded way to be American, but somehow questioning unelected columnists is not beyond reproach? *I question everyone and everything, and I was not fooled by President Bush, I saw it for what it was, and is. *The amazing thing is that he got away with it in front of the whole world. Point, shame, and snicker all you want, but the post-rationalizing and Machiavellian thinking chris and I were referring to is a fact of humanity, and like it or not, quite a few people in this country don't read the Times, so you'll have to forgive them for not knowing the correct way to think.
    By the way I was just as amazed at the things Clinton got away with. *I don't believe in judging anyone based on party line moral relativism, that stuff is for the birds...err sheep.

    Am I advocating for a "side"?

    What I was trying to do was deconstruct the fallability of arguments based on moralization. *

  13. #43

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    What I was trying to do was deconstruct the fallability of arguments based on moralization.
    Some or all of the authors may be lying themselves, but I read no argument in any of the articles as to the morality of truth.

    If war is to be accepted as immoral, but sometimes necessary, then truth must be viewed as the necessary data needed to make informed decisions.

    *

  14. #44

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    Denial and Deception
    By PAUL KRUGMAN

    In particular, there was never any evidence linking Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda; yet administration officials repeatedly suggested the existence of a link.

    Consider, for example, what Mr. Bush said in his "denial and deception" speech about the supposed Saddam-Osama link: that there were "high-level contacts that go back a decade." In fact, intelligence agencies knew of tentative contacts between Saddam and an infant Al Qaeda in the early 1990's, but found no good evidence of a continuing relationship. So Mr. Bush made what sounded like an assertion of an ongoing relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, but phrased it cagily — suggesting that he or his speechwriter knew full well that his case was shaky.
    These two excerpts are from the same article. In the first, the author states "there was never any" link between Iraq an Al Qaeda, the second states, "in fact, intelligence agencies knew."

    Is the author being deceptive or was the first statement a lie? *The first could be true if interpreted to mean 'never presented.' *This type of statement parsing is exactly the type Bush is criticized for, so what gives?

    If one is able to notice this type of shady phraseology, that individual is not the victim of Bush's deception, or Krugman. *On the other hand if some dimwit is duped and feels betrayed, in swoop the Democrats to take advantage of this undiscerning soul and dupe them into deserting the President. *
    Interesting strategy, I guess a vote is just a vote in the end. To feign the role of the truth teller and truth exposer, by twisting the truth seems disingenuous at the very least. *

    Generally the arguments don't appeal to the intellect but to the emotions, maybe I'm not touchy-feely enough to buy into it.

  15. #45

    Default Missing in Action: Truth

    I hate to repeat, but morality has not been the issue - not the morality of war, Bush, or the columnists.

    I will draw the line on the standards used for electing a president and going to war. Elections have long since become
    a joke, prime time media events run by entertainment experts. Decisions on war, at a time when the national emotional state is already elevated, should be made more carefully.

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