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learning curve

I wrote, edited, deleted and rewrote this post ten times already today. I'll just try to put it in simple terms, rather than spending hours writing something that will all come down to a few words, anyhow. I never believed that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11. However, I do believe that Iraq and al Qaeda have long, sordid history together. In fact, I believe most Middle East terrorist organizations have an incestuous relationship. After all, they all have the same father, which is their perverted distortion of Allah. Obviously, the defense on 9/11 could have been handled better. But how prepared were we to deal with this? Who could have imagined - even armed with briefings and reports - that they would use airplanes as weapons of mass destruction? Can we learn from 9/11? Yes. At the expense of 3,000 people, yes. And it would be a slap in the face to those 3,000 people if we did not learn anything. I do not believe that the 9/11 commission has helped us learn anything - up until now - except how to place blame in the most unproductive of ways. Ben Veniste's antagonistic ways have marked these hearings with a black dot; everytime I think about the commission, there is Ben Veniste, scowling, growling and generally dirtying up the proceedings. I am distressed today. I'm listening to the hearing. I'm reading the statements. I'm imagining a scenario in which someone has to make the decision to shoot down a plane full of innocent civilians. I hope that today's hearings and the findings will teach us how to be more prepared in the future. I think our biggest mistake was in undersestimating our enemy. No, our biggest mistake was in not realizing who our enemy is. In some ways, we are still making that mistake. Today is the first time in a long time that I feel disheartened, that my mind is running with various theories, scenarios and whatifs. Oh, not those kind of theories. Really, I just hope we have learned enough that we will never have to go through this again. And I hope that everyone reads the two statements from yesterday and realizes who our enemy is. It is not us. To think that is to condemn us to repeat a horrible history. To think that is to do a great disservice to the memory of 3,000 people. [Read 9/11 commission statements here. PDF files]

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Comments

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5226957/

how can you people still continue to believe that our administration occupy high moral ground now that rumsfeld has been caught ordering an iraqi prisoner be hidden from the red cross? do you seriously believe this kind of shit is going to make our soldiers safer? make america safer?

quite seriously, are these the kind of people you want in charge? rummy appears to believe that to beat terrorism it is neccessary to become as brutal as the terrorists. To which i think the most pertinent response is; if that is the case, why do we deserve to win?

"we're not as bad as them" is no justification. "freedom" is NOT an excuse for tyrrany.

You assume that he's an Iraqi prisoner. It's very likely that this is going to be one of those "foreign fighters" captured in Iraq.

Secondly, if that individual was engaged in combat against troops out of uniform and without insignia, he's not covered by the Geneva Conventions. Rumsfeld would actually be =wrong= to apply those rules of war to that person.

Take a moment and go to icrc.org. Print out the relevant documents. Go sit under a tree and read them for a bit.

The GC are not a license for terrorism or a shield behind which they can operate and then demand equal treatment under the rule of law.

I don't understand the chest thumping here.

Iraq was our enemy before 9/11 and after 9/11.

The idea that a foe would help another foe against us would be the common sense position, that being the case the burden of proof would be on those saying otherwise.

If the 9/11 commission manages to conclude that they had nothing even tangentantly to do with it fine. Thats not the same as saying Saddam was not our foe or that he did not support terrorism.

The selective reading of this stuff amazes me, just the like ignoring of the Saddam torture videos or the ignoring of the latest report to the UN concerning Iraq shipping out components and whole labs as scrap before the war.

The only people who can beat us in this war is us. It is the answer to Michael Moore's question of 9/12. Why did they hit places that didn't vote for the president?

The answer is simple; They don't care who you voted for you are an American, that is enough.

Prof, get your own freaking blog. Stop posting off topic rants and links in my comments as if this were your own place. You want to scream about this stuff? Blogs are free. Just go to blogger.com. Meanwhile, this is fair warning to every single jackass that thinks they can use my blog as their sounding board: You can't. If you're on topic, that's great. But do NOT hijack my post with your agenda. DO NOT.

And please do not respond to off topic trolling. That means you, Lair.

it might be true that iraq and al-qaeda have had some connections, but, as kevin drum points out:
"A dozen contacts [with iraq] in a dozen years is not proof of a Saddam-al-Qaeda connection. Just the opposite, in fact. To suggest otherwise would be like documenting the small number of occasions that George Bush has consulted with Democrats and pretending that means he's really a liberal."

"we're not as bad as them" is no justification. "freedom" is NOT an excuse for tyrrany.

So what is the excuse for failing to capitalize the first letter of a sentence as well as proper nouns? I'll give you credit for 'tyrrany' as a typo, but I'm wary of doing so.

Seriously, you ask us if those are the types of people we want running our country, but do you honestly expect anyone to listen to you when you do not even seem to comprehend that the purpose of the shift key isn't just for SHOUTING?

Nice try, Catherine. And Kevin. I must admit that sounds a lot like "I voted for it, before I voted against it."

Or "I know it appears black, but it really is white."

Besides, Kevin might be surprised to learn that Bush has consulted with Democrats a lot more than he thinks. But that wouldn't fit with the liberal story line.

Your belief that Saddam and Osama were somehow magically combined and co-plotting despite all evidence to the contrary is typical of the Right Wing's demented thinking. Were Al Qaeda agents in Iraq? Yes. Does that mean Saddam was in on it? Not necessarily...

Remember, all 19 of the 9/11 hijackers lived in the USA for over a year before flying those planes into buildings. Does that mean GW Bush is responsible for plotting with Al Qaeda to carry out 9/11? Because that's the ultimate conclusion that your poor logic leads to.

Art:

"I never believed that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11."

Jackass.

Actually Michele, prof is the epitome of the confusion about what and who the enemy is that you're talking about.

Yesterday's coverage of the Commission by a number of the media outlets is yet another - virtually rushing out of the room and playing up the conclusion that Iraq had no direct connection to 9/11 as a complete refutation of any and all mention of a connection between the two by the administration.

The prof just touched on another facet of that same line of spin - magnifying the aberrant behaviour of a group of improperly led and supervised troops for a short period of time and elevating it to the moral equivalency of the horrors perpetrated by the likes of Iron Felix, Herr Goebbels, and the Hussein brothers.

I think it goes beyond not recognizing who our real enemies are - it is to the point of not really giving a crap. Letting overly focused and selfish self interest guide their public discourse on most topics, reflexively taking a dissenting position irregardless of the issue at hand - just so long as they are being contrarian or in opposition.

Does that mean ignoring a huge threat to western civilization - one that would possible place their outspoken heads under the schimitar first, given the chance? Sure.

Does that mean undermining or denigrating people being forced to make tough calls about unpleasant or unsavory issues, despite their lack of desire to even deal with such things, much less come up with vible solutions? Happens every day.

Am I really as surprised with myself that I ignore as much of their crap as much as I do?

Most times, not really. I've sent too long ensuring that they'll have the opportunity to make complete jackasses of themselves, to the point that jackassery is a worldwide cause celebre to let it be more than an occaisional annoyance.

Today is the first time in a long time that I feel disheartened, that my mind is running with various theories, scenarios and whatifs.

You're such a tease.

I've never believed Iraq was involved in 9/11 either. I've never even tried to believe it. It's utterly beside the point.

First person to attack the typos and avoid the points in my last one wins a PRIZE!

Welcome to the club Michele. I've been watching Iran rush to build the bomb for almost two years now while our country discusses the ethnic extraction of them Neocons (and I though anti-Semitism was defeated in the States). I'm extremely unsurprised the 9/11 commission has become a bunch of self-flagelating, overreaching idiots. It has become our National Character to smear the innocent and pardon the guilty.

to even deal with such things, much less come up with vible solutions? Happens every day.
Ooh! I got one! What do I win?

;)

It has become our National Character to smear the innocent and pardon the guilty.

Sorge, you should read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand if you want to know exactly how right you are.

I wonder, though, about that airplane mockup that Iraq had a Salman Pak. We know they trained terrorists there - we have plenty of sources that have said so. We know they had the mockup there in the training facility and that it got used.

So what was all the training about? Even assuming that Iraq wasn't training people to hijack planes and fly them into buildings, they were certainly training people including people from al-Qaeda to hijack airplanes. Then we have people from an organization they trained doing just what they trained them to do. Doesn't that earn Iraq the teensiest bit of complicity for 9/11?

No, I don't think that when it came to planning the attack itself, Hussein was sitting in on the meetings. But I do think that without the training he gave and the shelter and cash he provided, 9/11 would have been difficult, if not impossible.

It was a real kick today to hear Jamie Gorelick tell General Myers that she would "help" him with the correct interpretation of the Posse Comitatus rule when she had already botched the "wall" rule between law enforcement and intelligence. And when, exactly, are we going to address that particular 500-pound gorilla in the Commission Hearings?

kevin drum's point was that there are dozens of other countries that have very established, strong ties to al-qaeda. including saudi arabia, sudan, pakistan, etc. countries that have much stronger ties than iraq does to al-qaeda. so what exactly are we doing about those countries? and why are we focusing our attention on iraq?

not that i don't think iraq was a dangerous country. i just think other countries were more so, especially in terms of support for terrorism.

just to cheer you up. and sorry to be off topic. yanks are 5 1/2 games up on the sawx today.

Catherine, strategically, Iraq is a beachhead. It is dead center of all the problem areas in the ME. Think about it, we secure Iraq which we had all the political reasons to do so. We help a democracy flourish. In return, we get a base of operations. Now we can safely and efficiently apply military pressure to all the trouble spots you've talked about.

Chris - there are some off topic things that are ok to talk about. That's one of them.

Sharp - excellent point.

Your belief that Saddam and Osama were somehow magically combined and co-plotting despite all evidence to the contrary is typical of the Right Wing's demented thinking.

It's the invasion of the straw men. You can't get away from them anymore. Everywhere you go, people are deploying them in force.

People, if you want to argue with someone, argue with their actual point, not one you have made up and assigned to them.

So we can add Iraq to the list of places that troops will remain for quite some time. Such as S. Korea, Germany and Cuba?

Germany, of course, had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor. But there was no doubt that they wished us ill. We were correct to declare war on them, and would have been correct in doing so even if they had not (very stupidly) declared war on us first.

The Saddam regime:
*Attempted to kill a U.S. President.
*Fired on U.S. pilots as a matter of course
*Paid large bonuses for suicide bombings in Israel
*Built/acquired long-range missiles (not technically classified as WMD, but you wouldn't know the difference if the warhead exploded in your block)
*Had every intent of acquiring WMD, and would have done so eventually given their financial resources and the collusion of so many Western leaders.

my comment was more of a follow up to sharp. I was wondering if he ment that IRAQ would become a major area to house U.S. troops for the foreseeable future just as S.Korea and Germany are?

I've been following Andy McCarthy's work in NRO (http://www.nationalreview.com/mccarthy/mccarthy200406170840.asp), and he seems to have a pretty good handle on the "evidence" vs. the "proof" with regards to Iraq, al Qaeda, and 9/11. I believe some people still are treating national security issues like law enforcement; our country does not have the luxury of building an iron-clad, "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" case before we can act.

And Catherine: Kevin is correct; all those countries do pose a problem. The Middle East as a whole is swamp long in need of draining. But due to many factors (terrorist ties, broken UN resolutions, past agression, humanitarian issues, etc.), Iraq was the most logical place to "prime the pump" so to speak. I believe you can have the same philosophy toward changes you'd like to see in these ME countries (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, etc.), but each will require different approaches. Regardless of what this adminstration's critics believe, we will not be invading all these countries as our first option (but military force must always be an option to make your other options viable).

Drew -

I would answer your question - yes. We'll be moving out of Korea and Germany, though - 60 and 50 years respectively is enough, I think, don't you.

Twenty years from now there will still be US troops stationed there, under a Host Nation agreement.

But I don't think that the mass of troops will be there in a year. We still have Syria to do.

"Were Al Qaeda agents in Iraq? Yes. Does that mean Saddam was in on it?

Remember, all 19 of the 9/11 hijackers lived in the USA for over a year before flying those planes into buildings. Does that mean GW Bush is responsible for plotting with Al Qaeda to carry out 9/11? "

Bad analogy. Saddam was a stalinesque dictator who controlled nearly every facet of life in his country. American presidents control very little.

Hussain was the largest money launderer in the world, there's a book about money launderers. To think cash hasn't been funneled by terrorist groups is naive.

Last night, I was almost crying in frustration watching the news. It was just the culmination of weeks of worry and frustration I guess. Then I tried to sleep and couldn't shut my brain off, it was like a hamster on a wheel going round and round. Needless to say, I didn't sleep so well. And this morning I'm not feeling too much better.

Catherine, Den Beste has an essay as to why after Pearl Harbor our first stop was Morocco. Kind of far from Japan, don't you think?

Search his archives.

"And I hope that everyone reads the two statements from yesterday and realizes who our enemy is. It is not us."

Tell that to the media, and the Democrats. They have the same belief and share much of the agenda of Al Qaeda: America is the Great Satan and must be brought low. All Americans are co-conspirators in World Oppression and hence are legitimate targets. There are no innocent Americans. Except for journalists and Democrats, of course. Well, the journalists and Democrats believe that last bit - but Al Qaeda doesn't.

There was no credible evidence that the Fascist government of Italy had direct connections to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The idea that we've only one enemy sworn to our destruction is suicidal. More than half the battles in history have nothing to do with attacking the main foe, directly. They're fought to put your troops in position to directly fight the main foe.
So far, we've fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Afghanistan put our troops and bases on land borders with both Iran and Pakistan.
Iraq put our troops and bases on land borders with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Let us now look at the strategic situation map. Pakistan is between us in Afghanistan and India. They start too much trouble, they're screwed.
Iran is caught between our troops and bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. There isn't a square inch of that country that isn't within range of our F15 air superiority aircraft and F-16 mud movers and not much of Iran is out of range of our apaches and Super Cobras. The only thing keeping the Mullahs alive is that, so far, taking them out isn't worth the civilian casualties. This will change if the UN continues it's helplessness about that nuke program.
Syria is stuck between our troops and bases in Iraq and the IDF.
Saudi Arabia's only hope is that we can't get the Iraqi oil fields up to speed, if we do then the world's economy can withstand the temporary setback to that oil supply while we sort out that mess.
While the 911 Commission blathers uselessly, the Administration quietly positions us for the next phase of this fight.

The 9/11 commission is a bunch of losers who grabbed this chance for the limelight as if it was their one chance for a cure from terminal cancer.

They're milking this for all it's worth.

The fact that there is anyone alive still trying to defend the invasion of Iraq for any reason whatsoever is beyond mind-boggling. Many of you appear to live in some sort of weird, twisted, alternate universe.

Since I am often accused of not providing the data to back up my conclusions, I've provided links for all y'all to check out at your leisure.

Pre-invasion argument #1: Iraq was connected with Al Qaeda and responsible for 9/11

Do I need to provide a link to this?? This argument has just been roundly de-bunked by the 9/11 comission, which is just the LATEST entity to do so, and A MEMBER OF WHICH SAT ON BUSH'S FOREIGN POLICY TEAM DURING THE RUN UP TO WAR. As for those of you who claim that "Bush never claimed that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11," please, stop. Your arguments are Clinton-esque in their parsing of data.

Pre-invasion argument #2: Iraq had WMD's. Apart from an old Sarin nerve shell, not a single WMD has been found. Yeah, yeah, right, one Sarin shell is just the tip of the iceberg; Iraq shipped its weapons abroad. WHATEVER. Right now, the burden of proof is now on those who say the weapons were there to prove that Iraq HAD WMD's, which means, ahem, finding them. Good luck.

http://www.hipakistan.com/en/detail.php?newsId=en67428&F_catID=&f_type=source

Pre-invasion argument #3: Iraqis would welcome us as liberators; we would improve the lives of ordinary Iraqis.

Yup. By the CPA's own polling numbers, a whopping 2% of Iraqis see us as liberators. 55% of iraqis would feel safer if we left immediately. And al-Sadr is the second most popular politican in Iraq

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2001957033_iraqpoll16.html

Get your heads out of the sand.

Ith-I hear you and feel the same. When I get this way I replay Ray Charles singing "America the Beautiful". Gets my courage factor going again.

I remember those times when terrorists attacked Western interests over the last twenty years and each time I heard about an attack, though I was told over and again there was nothing to worry about, I remember feeling in the pit of my stomach that one day America was going to wake up to the realization that Islamic fascist are serious about killing us. 9/11 affirmed my feelings.

Now, I am being told Al Queda and Saddam have no connection yet in the pit of my stomach I cannot help but feel Al Queda and Saddam were in bed together.

This time I am going to follow my instinct, Al Queda and Saddam shared the same quest to destroy Western civilization.

No matter how much garbage coming from Hollywood celebrities, news reporters, George Soros or 9/11 Commission panel is put forth, I am not changing my mind nor will I neglect my instincts.

I trust my instincts more than I truth the naysayers.

Ever get the feeling 9/11 is being swept under the rug? Purposefully for mere political purposes?

"Who could have imagined - even armed with briefings and reports - that they would use airplanes as weapons of mass destruction?"

Michele, I know that question was rhetorical but I'd like to answer it anyway: Richard Clarke knew, as did the anti-terror security forces that planned for security at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanat and the 2001 G-8 Summit in Genoa (in Genoe, the Italians set up a surface to air missile battery just to cope with such a threat.) In other words, it was not unimaginable. Condi should have known too, and George.

"Pre-invasion argument #1: Iraq was connected with Al Qaeda and responsible for 9/11"

I have never heard anyone make the argument that Iraq was resposible for 9/11. I have only heard opponents of the war use it as a strawman in this fashion.

The Bush administration certainly never made that argument, they merely said that Iraq had ties to terrorist groups, which it certainly did.

Britton: Right. And Clinton wanted to know what the meaning of "is" is. Pathetic sophistry, except Bush's was about war and peace.

No Britton, you're wrong. On the White House's own website on Sept 26, 2002, you could find these words:

"You can't distinguish between al-Qaeda and Saddam."

Here's the link:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/09/20020925-1.html

The Bushies did everything they could to point to links between Saddam and Osama, without making an explicit statement connecting them to 9-11. The neocons promoted theories by people like Laurie Mylroie and Stephen Hayes. The Weekly Standard ran a huge article in their Nov 24 issue promoting
Doug Feith's claims, saying "there can no longer be any serious argument about whether Saddam Hussein's Iraq worked with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to plot against Americans." And while Bush said last Sept 17 "we've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th," he continued giving speeches in which he implied that the two evils were working together.
Also read this Washington Monthly article: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2003/0312.bergen.html

Brad, they were working together. They just weren't working together on the 9/11 thing.

But, bravo. Your point is proved. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Too bad they had a lot to do with plenty of other terror. Oops, that doesn't really matter to you, does it?

You go, Brad. Yay for your team.

DARPA - Your Point #2 is incorrect also. According to the unanimously approved UN Resolution 1441, the burden of proof regarding WMDs belonged to Saddam Hussein. He was given a series of steps toward meeting that burden, failing which he would face "serious consequences". He met none of them. He faced "serious consequences".

brad - So what you're saying is that even though you've posted quotes saying that the President specifically said that Hussein had no direct link to 9/11 you contend that he really said that Hussein had a direct link to 9/11? Then you say that they made every effort to show the links between Hussein and al-Qaeda as if they were incorrect while giving us links between Hussein and al-Qaeda. It's certainly a novel argument, I'll admit. It's not logical or anything, but it's novel.

DARPA:

Please share with us how you feel Iraq should have been dealt with. Or are you saying the status quo was fine with you? Should Saddam still be in power today? Please advise.

Oh, and Brad...same goes for you...Please share with us how you feel Iraq should have been dealt with. Or are you saying the status quo was fine with you? Should Saddam still be in power today? Please advise.

Good point, Badger. I've been reading the same damned arguments over and over and over and frikkin' over from people like DARPANET and Brad. What I don't hear from them is how they would have dealt with the problem of Saddam Hussein had they been in charge. Let's hear some specifics, guys. Real solutions. We all know what you don't like; let's hear what you do.

Brad-o:

Had the opportunity to read the Washington Monthly-Bergen article you referenced. A few issues with it:
1. Bergen writes, "As of this writing, there appears to be no evidence that Saddam had either weapons of mass destruction or significant ties to terrorist groups like al Qaeda." This was written in Dec 2003. Since then, new info has emerged (i.e, Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, Iraq WMD production materials turning up in other countries, etc.). Again...see McCarthy's piece on NRO...there are still many more questions than answers.
2. Bergen writes, "It was at AEI that the idea took shape that overthrowing Saddam should be a fundamental goal of U.S. foreign policy." That's funny; I thought the Clinton administration made regime change in Iraq official US policy in 1998. Was the Clinton administration being unduly influenced by AEI? Hardly. Bergen needs to get his facts straight.
3. I'm not sure why Bergen has an axe to grind with Mylroie; it seems to get very personal. He calls her a "crackpot" and then wonders why she doesn't want to be interviewed in his article. Gee, go figure. This looks to be a smear piece more than a position or evidence piece.
4. Bergen seems to take much of what Yousef and KSM say at face value without offering support of their claims. I'm not ready to believe every word that comes out of the mouth of our mortal enemies.

All in all, I'm not sure what this article accomplishes, other than smearing Laurie Mylroie. I think you and Bergen are giving her too much credit. She is not the only source of intel on Iraq. And please feel free to dissect the Stephen Hayes and Doug Feith pieces and rebutt their evidence. I'll be waiting anxiously....

Big Brother:

Don't hold your breath for a response from Brad or DARPA. I don't actually expect them come back with a reasonable response. They usually drop one or two stink-bombs, then scurry away when the lights come on. Oh well...as Burgess Meredith said in Grumpy Old Men, "You can wish in one hand, and crap in the other, and see which gets filled up first."

The Bushies did everything they could to point to links between Saddam and Osama, without making an explicit statement connecting them to 9-11.

So, in other words, they didn't say Saddam was involved in 9-11, but they're guilty of saying it anyway.

Thanks.

Wow, talk about plucking a quote out of context:

"Both of them need to be dealt with. The war on terror, you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror. And so it's a comparison that is -- I can't make because I can't distinguish between the two, because they're both equally as bad, and equally as evil, and equally as destructive."

What we should have done about Iraq:

This is not a hard question. Why did we need to 'do' anything? It seems as if we had quite enough to 'do' as it was, you know, with the actual terrorists that were TRYING to kill us and all. Instead of dealing with some toothless, contained, disarmed, non-9/11 helping old tryant that we helped keep in power anyway, making us LESS safe, making the world HATE us, drawing resources from Afghanistan, destrying Americas moral authority, putting strain on the army, and breeding MORE terrorists.

Bottom line: America is less safe now than we were before we inaved Iraq. Because we invaded Iraq. End. Of. Story. And since Michele is the person talking about how shit-scared she is all the time, you think that would mean somthing here.

Trolls like Dorkanet are why I have comment moderation on my blog. It feels so good to know that I have deleted the losers' posts without them ever having been available to the audience they crave.

The anti-war group started off being pro-sanctions in 91, wanting to give it "a chance" instead of going to war.

As time wore on and Saddam didn't comply with the requirements of sanctions, Iraqis started to die because this "toothless" tyrant wasn't spending the money for the "oil for food" program as was demanded. But instead of blaming Saddam, the blame was passed upon us. And the resolution was never to remove Saddam from office, but to simply lift sanctions.

500,000 Iraqis dead later, and billions stolen from the program, Bush goes to war. Takes out Hussein. And what do we see? Claims about more Iraqis killed needlessly, even though continued sanctions (Nevermind anything Saddam himself would do) would've claimed far more than the excessive estimates of 10k killed since March 2003.

If the anti-war groups had their way, we'd have:

Sanctions still to this day

or

No more Sanctions, with a Hussein lead Iraq able to go about his business.

or

No more Sanctions, with a Hussein lead Iraq stretching into Kuwait able to go about his business.

The world didn't want us to take out Hussein. They were never mad about us "keeping him in place" in 91 in the first place.

Sorry for the delay in responding, DARPA.

1. Toothless? Every worldwide intelligence agency believed that Saddam had active WMD programs, not just the US. Because we have not found stockpiles yet does not mean they did not exist, and Saddam was maintaining the ability to ramp up production as as the sanctions and inspections were lifted (see the Kay report).
2. Containment came at a very high price to the Iraqi population with little cost to Saddam, and could not go on forever. See h0mi's post above.
3. And this is priceless..."It seems as if we had quite enough to 'do' as it was, you know, with the actual terrorists that were TRYING to kill us and all. " Perhaps you've read this: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Russia-Iraq.html ? Maybe we should have just sat back and waited for Saddam to attack us (again?) and then repsond. Is that what you are advocating?

Get your mind around this: the effort to eradicate Islamic terrorism will need to be fought on many fronts, often simultaneously. We need to, and are able to, handle more than one military engagement at a time. We do not have the luxury of taking our time, engaging one by one. Due to our country's bullshit handling of this growing menace over the past 25 years (including Bush's first 9 months), we are seriously behind the 8 ball, and we have a lot of work to do.

And I don't give a shit if people/terrorists hate us. That's what happens when you take decisive action. Someone is always going to hate us, and if they are going to hate us, I'd also prefer that they fear us as well.

And don't give me any of your "moral authority" bullshit. I can rattle off a near endless list of "moral" issues that the world community/UN/Europe/ME has turned their back and a blind eye to.

So, clearly, this is not the END.OF.STORY.

DARPANET:

Your first two points are ludicrous. The US government have always said that there were ties between Iraq and terrorists, between Iraq and Al-Quaeda. So does the 9-11 report. Weapons programs were found in Iraq. Iraqi WMD and WMD components were found in Iraq and elsewhere. As for #3:

>Pre-invasion argument #3: Iraqis would welcome us as >liberators; we would improve the lives of ordinary Iraqis.

A substantial percentage of Iraqis did welcome us as liberators. Perhaps you've forgotten those poll results? Or maybe you're not mentioning them for a reason? And, by the way, the lives of ordinary Iraqis have improved. Or have you ignored those stories as well?

>Yup. By the CPA's own polling numbers, a whopping 2% of >Iraqis see us as liberators. 55% of iraqis would feel safer if we >left immediately. And al-Sadr is the second most popular >politican in Iraq
>http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/>2001957033_iraqpoll16.html

Y'know, your statments might be more compelling if you didn't lie. 81% of Iraqis have an "improved opinion" of Al-Sadr, but only 2% of Iraqis would vote for him for President. Almost as many who would vote for Hussein (3%). Not the 2d-most popular politician in Iraq. Matter of fact, why don't you read a paper that isn't so slanted : http://washingtontimes.com/world/20040616-115415-7776r.htm . Note that the Iraqi representative to the US says that a US pullout would be catastrophic. In the poll itself, nearly half of Iraqis still support the presence of coalition troops until a stable Iraqi government is established. Before Abu Ghraib, most Iraqis wanted the coalition forces to stay as long as necessary. Did you think the scandal would have no effect on the Iraqis? As for “occupiers” vs.
“liberators,” we liberated the country 15 months ago. We are now occupying the country until a stable government is formed. Duh. Seems even the Iraqis are smarter than you.

>Get your heads out of the sand.'

Get bent.

MakeMineRed