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the final countdown

Sunday's forecast: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of war.

Last Monday, Bush said that the declaration of WoMD Saddam will submit tomorow must be credible and complete, or he will prove that a leopard cannot, indeed, change it's spots and that Saddam has rejected the path of peace.

Let's look at the use of the word credible. According to Dictionary.com, it means:

Capable of being believed; plausible.
Worthy of confidence; reliable.

Has Saddam ever been capable of being believed? By insisting that he worthy of confidence, Bush has pretty much given the green light to blast away.

My personal feeling is that Bush and others already know the things that Blix and company don't. They know where the WoMDs or at least the ingredients for WoMDs are hidden. Sending Blix and his troops out there was just a way of playing nice so the proper documents, sans any admissions, get into the U.S.

As soon as that ten ton lie gets into the right hands, it won't matter whether it has 13,000 pages or ten pages. They will know exactly what paragraph, line and word to look for and when it does not appear, the ommission of that information means Saddam better start looking for an underground bunker.

Of course, that's just my theory. Everyone has one these days.


Uh... an underground bunker will not be safe...

He can run but he cannot hide.

It's sad but the left will refuse to admit Saddam is really dead because we won't be able to find enough to test for DNA after we hit him with one of these

On to Baghdad!

Well (honestly) what difference is the report going to make? None. We seem dead set on creating war with Iraq instead of finding bin Laden and wiping his scrawny butt from the face of the planet - so be it.

"We seem dead set on creating war with Iraq instead of finding bin Laden and wiping his scrawny butt from the face of the planet "

We can't find Bin Laden because we DID wipe his scrawny butt from the face of the planet. If he were alive we'd have seen a video in the last year...we have not.

On to the Butcher of Bagdad!!!!

When even the administration concedes that the last tape circulated is "most likely" bin Laden, that's open for debate. This butcher of Baghdad stuff is getting old, but since the government doesn't seem to care about such a curious change of focus to an easily accessible target, why should anyone, right? I'm afraid I just cannot grasp this headlong fall into something that seems completely unnecessary - especially given that my brother will probably be up to his neck in this thing. He isn't particuarly thrilled about it, either, and he's seen some real hell-holes where he was 100% behind what he was doing because there there was a clearly defined reason for being there. The administration clearly wants a war, and they're making the moves to guarantee there will be one.

"Has Saddam ever been capable of being believed?"

No, but then, neither has Bush.
Also, bin Laden is not dead until we have unquestionable proof.
Also, we may need to go to war with Iraq, but we need not be so damned happy about it, as if it's a sports event.

Yeah I agree. This Butcher of Bagdad stuff is getting old. That's why he needs to go. Here is a list of his crimes:The use of poison gas and other war crimes against Iran and the Iranian people during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Iraq summarily executed thousands of Iranian prisoners of war as a matter of policy.

The "Anfal" campaign in the late 1980's against the Iraqi Kurds, including the use of poison gas on cities. In one of the worst single mass killings in recent history, Iraq dropped chemical weapons on Halabja in 1988, in which as many as 5,000 people mostly civilians were killed.

Crimes against humanity and war crimes arising out of Iraq's 1990-91 invasion and occupation of Kuwait.

Crimes against humanity and attempted genocide against Iraqi Kurds in northern Iraq. This includes the destruction of over 3,000 villages. The Iraqi government's campaign of forced deportations of Kurdish and Turkomen families to southern Iraq has created approximately 900,000 internally displaced citizens throughout the country.

Crimes against humanity and attempted genocide against Marsh Arabs and Shi'a Arabs in southern Iraq. Entire populations of villages have been forcibly expelled. Government forces have burned their houses and fields, demolished houses with bulldozers, and undertaken a deliberate campaign to drain and poison the marshes. Thousands of civilians have been summarily executed.

Killings, ostensibly against political opponents, within Iraq.

Change of focus? Axis of Evil - root out terror...prevent another 9/11 - where did we lose y'all?

You know the funny thing is - if Bush doesn't get Saddam out and then Iraq (through terrorist operatives) dumps a shitload of Anthrax into N.Y or D.C - your tune will shift to blaming Bush for not preventing it. You people are NEVER going to be appeased.

I'd be concerned if my brother were in the service now. I understand, I really do.

Thank your brother for all of us. For serving our country with honor and helping to insure our freedom. Hopefully, someday soon, he will know how it feels to help liberate a nation.

Why does it take 13,000 pages to say "I have nothing you seek", that alone is a dead give-away.


Hold on there a minute, hoss: what is this "you people" stuff?

There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein is an evil person. There is also no shortage of such people in the world, running foreign countries. What specifically, don't people understand about what I'm asking here?

1. Why hasn't the administration done what they promised to do: find bin Laden and bring him to justice (IMO, wiped into a little grease spot would be pretty damned good justice) along with all his pathetic little cronies?
2. What has Hussein done specifically to the US? People bitch about us being the world's police force - as my brother heard when he had to go to Bosnia - and then turn right around and wholeheartedly support some action against a big baddie like Hussein because he's a rotten guy and has done all these horrible things, but not to us. There's nothing that indicates Iraq is supporting al Qaeda, and in fact, given the ideological differences between them, I'd be mightily surprised if there were any. Unless you're suggesting that Iraq is supporting some other shadowy terrorist network that so far doesn't seem to have done beans compared to al Qaeda.
3. If we're going to rid the world of the boogeyman, why are we starting in the ME instead of (say) in Africa?
4. And the final question on our little pop quiz: why is it people can seem to use the word liberate with such ease? Throwing the bad dude out is not an automatic foray into an entirely new ideological culture shift in the affected country. I'll bet the Afghans are just delighted with our liberation/post-liberation support abilities right now.

I am not an isolationist by any means. There is a time for use of force. I don't think this is one of them.

What Annettte said. "You people" is a bunch of bullshit, Rosemary. Not that I expect someone who has so obviously bought into the neo-con party line that your way is the Only True Way, and everyone else is a traitor, or a commie-leftist-pinko-liberal.

But I also see in your comments the germ for blame on those of us opposed to the war, for when things go wrong.

Your spurrious thought process about Saddam using terrorist operatives to dump anthrax or something else on our cities is so outrageously funny and without basis in reality that I'm afraid I have to ask you to come up with a better line. Yes, he has WMD -- you know, the shit we gave him to play with? -- and yes, he's used it in the past.

However, he absolutely knows if he were to ever use it, Baghdad would be a parking lot.

The man may be ruthless, but he's not a moron, which you warmongering idiots seem to forget. He will not use this stuff unless he knows he's going down. Gee, and haven't we given him reason to think that we're pursuing that course of action? Hmmm, could be, rabbit.

What I worry about happening in this rush to war is that when he's going down, security around some of his weapons may become lax, and THEN they'll fall into unwelcome hands. If that happens, then we have Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Wolfowitz, that asshole Perle, and others to blame for this one.

Not that I don't expect them to somehow pin the blame on the Dems for "delaying" the war. Funny, we didn't delay the war -- we gave (stupidly) the Shrub the resolution he needed. Funny thing, though, he then ignored it and went on the campaign trail on MY money for a month.

This Administration is nothing short of the most criminal in the history of the country. The Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves with the actions of these power-mad assholes.

Pop Quiz Answers:
#1.Nobody is gonna be happy until they see the body. If he's been dusted it will be difficult to prove. He has not been seen by anyone in more than a year - alive. Bush has stated on more than one occasion that they are hunting Bin Laden and gang down one by one. Weekly, we hear reports of captures and kills of some top Al Qaeda terrorists. Guantanamo Bay is full of prisoners that are awaiting trial. It's not like they are giving up on Al Qaeda.

#2. Letter to Congress from CIA Director George Tenet."*Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including those of high rank.
"*We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda going back a decade.

"*Credible information indicates that Iraq and al-Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression.

"*Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad.

"*We have credible reporting that al-Qaeda's leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire W.M.D. [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to al-Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs.

"*Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians coupled with growing indications of a relationship with al Qaeda, suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action."

#3. Because Al Qaeda started it and they are in the ME. Seems simple enough. Besides getting Iraq puts us in the supreme position of having Iran sandwiched in between our forces and lets the rest of the terrorist sympathizing nations see clearly that they better not fuck with us - we are serious about this. They get no more free passes from the U.S.. Also, it is not smart to split your forces. We still need to be in Afghanistan too.

#4. Throwing around words is easy. Just look at Scott's post. He freely throws around some dandies. Let me just say this. Getting rid of the bad guy is a good start. The world isn't perfect. But eliminating the power of homicidal maniac is a good first step. I know you were sarcastic but I'll bet the Afghan women are very happy that they can go back to school. They can watch T.V. if they have one. If they are only a little better off its a good beginning.

To Scott:
RE:"Not that I expect someone who has so obviously bought into the neo-con party line that your way is the Only True Way, and everyone else is a traitor, or a commie-leftist-pinko-liberal."

I have bought into nothing. You know absolutely nothing about me or my politics. I never said nor implied that "You People" were traitors and any of that other whiny bullshit you spouted. I'll tell you what "You People" are - you are the people that believe Bush stole the election and Gore is the true POTUS and NO MATTER what Bush does you WILL find fault or have pointed finger extended. There is NEVER going to be pleasing the whiny little crybabies that extremists such as yourself are. This again is for Scott not Annette. Annette has legitimate questions and is very reasonable with her expectations. Scott on the other hand is most probably a tree-hugging limosine liberal that whines about anything Republican and has always an excuse for any liberal infraction.

By the way: GORT will never beat Bush in a rematch. Everyone can see what a big douche he really is now!

I've been known to hug some trees in my time, but not when there were whackos living up in them. That's a little odd to me, but so are extremists in any group, really (PETA, pro-choice, pro-life, environmentalists, diehard hawks, peaceniks-at-any-price, etc.). I'd imagine I'm among the more liberal (small L) people that populate michele's comments these day, but she tolerates me because I don't have a tin foil hat to wear. Just as a warning: I term almost all politicians douchbags, regardless of party affiliation.

1. OK, agreed. A body would be nice. What disturbs me, however, is that when that initial tape came out, the administration was rather blase about it, indicating to any observer that there was no particular rush to track the source because they were focusing on Iraq. I won't get into the secondary issues that disturb me about the government being able to indefinitely hold people for "terrorist-related" reasons and denying them legal recourse. It's a little too frightening to get into right now, and it's a little off the main topic here.

2. There's no denying that you could draw any number of connections between any two points on the muslim map. I would have been surprised if intelligence had not tracked members of al Qaeda to Iraq or any other predominantly muslim country. Why wouldn't they go there, especially to places where anti_US sentiment runs very high. The issue I have with drawing that straight line instead of a dotted line between al Qaeda and Iraq lies squarely in the ideological differences they have regarding their particular brand of religion and cultural control - just like any other religion. Surely Hussein is delighted to let al Qaeda do whatever they want as long as it doesn't interfere with his rule of Iraq - if it did, he would just as surely execute them as he has others in the past.

3. My point is that given the sheer lack of concrete evidence that Iraq possesses anything that is a direct and immediate threat to the US - and the sheer lack of anything coming from the administration mouthpieces to support their claims that such evidence exists - it simply seems a rather arbitrary place if we're intent on ridding the world of the baddies. There are any number of places, closer to home, that we could start, but don't. You could apply the same argument to any country where a dictator sits in power and come to the conclusion we should be stomping all over the planet. Bush's complete lack of diplomatic aplomb, which no one can possibly deny - if you're not with us, you're against us, we don't care what the rest of the world thinks, and so on - does not help things along.

4. Glad you caught the sarcasm. However, I still have a concern about the attention span of the US after it does something. It can be about the equivalent of the attention span of a gnat.

"Scott on the other hand is most probably a tree-hugging limosine liberal that whines about anything Republican and has always an excuse for any liberal infraction."

Yawn. Same old pablum, whether it's spewed by you, Rosemary, or any other kneejerk rightwing fool.

Your arguments are specious at best, and the insults are lovely. Your backpedaling on the "you people" comment is exactly what I expected. I know exactly what you meant by it, and I knew your response to my post would be exactly as you wrote it.

Yes, Gore did win, and yes, the current resident of the Oval Office is not duly elected -- I'll point you to sites like Atrios' and Hesiod's for much better locations to find the pertinent information.

The Republicans are nothing more than bullies, shouting down any and all who dare to oppose them. Lies are spread -- look how much shit Gore had to take, for example, or the latest brouhaha over Kerrey's $150 haircuts, while the Shrub spends 2-14,000 on his suits. But heaven forfend if one bad word is even uttered about the Mayberry Machiavellis. Oh, no, they're our duly-elected officials.

As John Stewart said, "And today, George W. Bush was elected president of the United States by a 5-4 margin, including 100% of the black vote."

The Republicans have made a complete mockery of our election process and of the government, and I, for one, look forward to the next two years, wherein y'all fuck it up completely. I just hope no one else has to die in something like 9/11 before the country comes to its collective senses.

Annette, completely disregarding any Iraq/al Qa'ida connection, there is the small matter of the 14 (or was it 16?) UNSC resolutions Saddam has ignored, and the cease-fire agreement from the first round of this war, which he's also ignored.

As a practical matter, the '91 war never ended; we could roll back in there on that alone. That Bush didn't try that approach, but instead opted for the drawn-out Congressional approval followed by the drawn-out UNSC approval, shows how far he actually is from an out-of-control cowboy. (Clinton acted without either level of approval, remember? But somehow that was different, apparently...)

UN resolutions? I think it's an even dozen in the past dozen years not followed by Iraq, by the way.

I suppose technically, that could be called reason enough, but why is Iraq's disregard of those resolutions more important than any other country's disregard of resolutions issued by the UNSC? The UNSC has issued a mind-boggling 787 resolutions in the past 12 years, and even they admit that the pace of disregard for those resolutions has picked up since the end of the Cold War.

Let's turn to one of our own allies for a moment: Israel. Now, I have no real, in depth commentary on the whole Israel-Palestine issue, because as far as I can see, that battle is still going to be raging long after I'm dead. However, there are many Arab leaders who say that Israel is in violation of res. 242 to remove themselves completely from land seized in 1967. The Israelis turn around and say that two (Arab) countries are in violation of a 1978 resolution to restore order in certain areas. Both sides appear to be in clear violation of res. 1397. If we are to examine every resolution not followed by the country on which the sanction was imposed, we should do so equitably to determine what consequence should be applied to that country for its failure to follow it. While I do not agree with the folks over at endiraqsanctions.net, because I think that there is a place for sanctions against Iraq, jsut as I long thought the sanctions against South Africa were justified, I simply cannot support using UNSC resolution violations as an entre to use of force in this instance unless we treat violaters the same, whether ally or not.

The approval by Congress of that war resolution was a travesty, on both sides of the aisle. Every congresscritter who voted yea abdicated their legislative responsibility to the people of this country. The whole charade with Congressional approval was pure politics, and nothing more.

I believe the relevant UNSC Resolutions include at least 660, 661, 662, 664, 665, 666, 667, 669, 670, 674, 677, 687, 688, and 949; that totals 14 by my count, and I'm not sure that list is complete (this listing is from the Congressional authorization of war on Iraq). But that's a small nit, in context.

Re Israel: they have ignored one (and arguably a second) resolution; we have never been at war with them, and they are obviously not a threat to anyone but those fanatically anti-Israel countries who keep making war and committing terrorist actions against them. They are not attempting to create a pan-Arab state, do not use WMDs on their own people or others, and in general are in no way comparable to Iraq. All this should be obvious even to the most casual observer.

As for applying the rules equivalently to everyone: this is a very nice abstract concept, but the real world doesn't work that way and never has. If we were to wait until such uniformity was implemented to act, we would never act at all. Not on anything. Not even when it comes to ordering pizza for a crowd of people...

Certainly the Congressional authorization was political; please tell me, what they have done in the last couple of centuries that wasn't? Your disapproval is unfortunately not a sign of the authorization's lack of validity; the large majority of the American population supported the resolution, a fact of which the members of Congress were well aware. (And to think, I thought I was cynical!)

Saddam has got to go. Here's why...

At this point, the UNMOVIC inspections are nothing but theater.

The war debate is over -- the countdown has begun.

Troy, I think you're being a bit disingenous regarding the passage of the resolution by Congress. The rest - well, I'm not going to delve into it any further. Claiming that it's ok for one country to ignore the resolutions imposed by the very same body by which you (in this argument, at least) are claiming use of force is justified - simply because this one is our ally and we've never been at war with them - is a bit hypocritical, in my opinion, even if that's the way things are in the real world (of politics). It matters little to me if they do or do not engage in the same activities as another country from whom we are demanding compliance when compliance is used as the baseline of justification of force and other examples of noncompliance - and inaction - are available.

Thanks for the discussion, though, Rosemary and Troy. Nice to have a talk with people who aren't foaming at the mouth and falling off one edge of the cliff or another.

Annette, the "real world" is the one I live in.

Imagining a better world -- even an ideal world, is fun, but when it comes to protecting the people and the nation I love there's no choice: I do it in the real world.

And I do it whatever way it takes, ideology be damned.

I think the whole episode is now belated. Its just a matter of few days waiting and the "Butcher of Bagdad" will be history...