Various & Sundry 3/14/08

Some stuff:

* Josh Marshall pegs the salient nature of the whole Geraldine Ferraro/Obama thing:

At a certain point I realized that for all the ancillary nonsense Ferraro is simply not capable of seeing Obama’s campaign as anything but an African-American favorite son candidacy. Once you get that everything seems to fall into place.

Yup. And it makes sense from Ferraro, who seems to be well aware that she was the Democratic VP candidate in 1984 because she was (and, well, is) a woman, rather than for her other qualities.

I also suspect it really is a generational thing. Nobody misses the fact Barack Obama is a black man, but I really do think most white voters under 40 don’t see it as the primary quality of interest about the man, whereas I think a significant portion of white voters over 40 do. I could be wrong about this, but this is the vibe I’m getting.

(Likewise, I suspect there may be the same schism over Clinton’s sex, but at this point, I’d hazard that the most salient potential aspect of Clinton, either positive or negative, is not that she’s a woman, but that she’s a Clinton.)

(Also, weird — I had the strangest sense of Deja Vu writing that last sentence.)

All of that said, Geraldine Ferraro is not doing herself any favors claiming, as she does now, that her being thumped for her comments was all part of a dastardly plan by the Obama people to discredit Hillary. Ms. Ferraro, you’re doing that well enough on your own, ma’am. You might wish to STFU now.

* An interesting photo montage of gun owners in the US. The impression one gets from it is that guns are like potato chips; it’s hard to stop with just one. Perhaps not entirely surprisingly there seems to be a number of folks in the montage who by personal appearance and their surroundings appear to be members in good standing of the geek tribe. Just in case anyone thinks the geeks will be easy pickin’s after the revolution comes.

* StarShipSofa has posted audio versions of all the BSFA short story award-nominated works for 2007. Should you decide you need some easy listening.

* The folks who posted this suggest it is in the running for one of the worst inventions ever, and I’m hard pressed to disagree.

* What? No link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda? Who knew? But then again, this report does come from those goddamned pinko liberals at the Pentagon, and it’s well known that they all like drinks with umbrellas in them, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. But, don’t worry — there’s certainly a link between Iraq and al Qaeda now.

If I remember the last few days correctly, this report is the one that the Bush administration decided not to release to the press, even though was available to anyone who requested a copy from the Pentagon. Congratulations, Dubya, you managed to delay its appearance in the press by, oh, six hours. Well done you.

* Apparently, we can keep our stinkin’ dollars; no one wants them anymore. I should be concerned about the dollar’s free-fall — and I am — but at least there’s a silver lining for me: it means that I’m getting paid more for my foreign sales, so long as those sales are denominated in Euros, which largely they are. To put it another way, I got paid in Euros the same amount for the German version of The Last Colony that I got paid for the German version of Old Man’s War, but thanks to the dollar’s precipitate decline, I’m getting paid like something like 40% more after the payment is converted to dollars. And our inflation here in the US is not at 40% yet, so I win. That is, as long as I don’t leave the US. Rumor is that it’s a big country.

If the dollar wants to stay hideously depressed through my next round of foreign sales, I guess I won’t complain. But in the long run it would be nice to have my home currency seen as stable and having value. The cynical part of me wonders how much the global perception of the dollar will change simply by having a new occupant in the White House on January 20, 2009. I guess we’ll find out.

91 thoughts on “Various & Sundry 3/14/08

  1. Yeah, Ferraro doesn’t seem to get it and seems to have lost the ability to STFU. Very sad that everything I liked about Clinton and the Democrats is simultaneously being wiped out by Hilary and yet Obama is giving me hope and making me very happy. Why doesn’t Hilary just announce Lieberman as her running mate so she can just tip all the way over?

    The second gun owner in that montage looks like you. With a smaller dog. The rest of them kind of creep me out.

    The running board dog carrier is horrific. SO much so as to not be funny at all.

    The Bushocracy really did make all their dreams come true didn’t they? So depressing.

    Okay, back to winding my way towards some writing this AM.

  2. I’m not surprised about the geek gun owners, John. They’re more and more high-tech as the years progress, and honestly, the union of the sets of Geeks and Libertarians is a pretty darned large group, so it does make sense.

  3. This is a potentially troublesome comment to make because it involves race but please remember this is my opinion only.

    Speaking as someone ‘over 40′ (but probably not representative of the entire baby boom generation) I don’t see the Obama campaign as a ‘race’ thing.

    Here is the part that might get me in trouble though. In my opinion I hardly noticed he was black, but I admit that is mostly because of his features. Just like when Halle Barry won the Oscar I had to be reminded that “Oh yeah, she is black.” I guess what I am trying to say is I don’t think I have much racism but I probably have facism. (not fascism!)
    I think I have prejudice regarding a person’s appearance, specifically by buying into the Western notion of what is beautiful.

    On a small positive note I recall when thin lips were “in style” and it is nice now to have full lips (which are more common across ethnic groups) to be the most desirable.

    So I still have prejudice, just not as much.

  4. In my view, having a prejudice which you don’t know about is an order of magnitude worse than having one you do know about.

    Example: say you’re prejudiced towards those people with a mole on their left cheek. If you knew about it and fully acknowledged it, you wouldn’t be at all surprised when you find yourself thinking crappy thoughts about someone with a mole on their right cheek. But if you didn’t, anytime someone would call you on that prejudice you’d be all “Oh, hells no! I don’t think that way! Bollocks!”

    Knowledge of the self is the way to enlightenment. Ohm.

  5. As for the Iraq/Al Qaeda thing, based on other media reports the CNN story appears to misstate things somewhat. What other stories are saying is that the report found no “direct operational links”. In other words, Al Qaeda wasn’t in Saddam Hussein’s chain of command, he wasn’t directing them. And at least as far as I can tell from the various press reports, nothing in it contradicts much that has been said by the government, as opposed to what the press reported that the government said.

    Of course, I’d like to read the report myself, but the actual report doesn’t appear to have been posted or leaked to the net as of yet. I’m sure that will happen shortly, though.

  6. 1. I think gun ownership is much like any gadget ownership. For example, most serious cyclists I know, myself included, own more than one bike. For my single-individual focus group, I provide this as evidence:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/fontosaurus/1548420206

    That’s my living room. I live alone. (Except for the cats.) What you don’t see is the two unbuilt frames that are in my storage facility…and the box of parts for the track bike I’m building. I’ll admit to being somewhat obsessive, but each of those bikes is built for a specific purpose.

    While gun nuts that feel the need to own enough gear to equip an infantry fire team do scare me a bit, I can kind of understand the mindset…each item has it’s own purpose and its own appeal.

    2. The falling dollar. I’ve saw an article about stores in NYC that are now accepting euros. I’ve been putting serious consideration to switching the costs to the fonts I sell online over to a euro-base. I’ve also been looking at converting the cash in my savings account to euros and moving them offshore. I think the dollar’s going to be comatose for awhile.

  7. * Data point, me — 40-plus and worry not a whit over the race of a candidate. I suspect because I grew up going to pretty well-integrated schools (Parochial K-6 and public 7-12), post-Summer of Love. Your main point is unarguable, I’d just move the dividing line up 10 years.

    * Yeah, I wouldn’t worry about geeks after the collapse. These are the MacGyvers, y’know? The people who could improvise killing tools out of a metal bookend, an iPod cord and a handful of Halls cough drops, or who, when the ammo runs out, will be building seige engines from the crap in their garages (many have a head start).

    * Also on guns: I have no problem with gun ownership per se, but I can’t help feeling the guy holding the Bible really ought to crack it open and read past the middle for once. And speaking of cognitive dissonance, how ’bout that guy sitting with his iron in front of a shrine to Buddha?

    * Glad StarShip Sofa got other talent to read the award-nominated stories. I love the podcast and I love UK accents, but, holy mother of God, sometimes these mid-American ears find Tony and Ciaran just off the planet.

  8. The doggie bag is the single most hilarious invention I have ever seen.

    I sincerely hope the dollar makes a comeback soon. I just started a new job which included a 50% increase in the amount of money I make in a year and I’d love it if that increase could mean more.

    Also, Happy Pi Day!

  9. The best spin I think anyone could give to the Geraldine Ferraro statement (or rather statements — she had been saying this for a couple of weeks before it hit critical mass) is that it was as tone deaf as you can get in politics.

    But for me I still believe it was premeditated by the Clinton campaign, if only because we’ve seen this ploy before — using a surrogate to sling the mud so she can claim it wasn’t her saying it. What they intended was not only to portray Obama as some kind of affirmative action candidate, but also hoping to get a rise out of him so they could further paint him as another black man complaining about being a victim.

    I’m glad he didn’t take the bait, refusing to classify her statement as racist (no matter how racist it actually was).

  10. Geraldine Ferraro: She was no genius when she was running for VP, and still isn’t. How else could she possibly think her stupid comment was the fault of the Obama campaign?

    Obama: I notice he’s black, but in spite of being way over 40 it doesn’t bother me. But then the student body president of my high school was black (1962) and I really liked him, so I guess I got over that a long time ago.

    Gun geeks: It goes farther. Here in SLC we have a gay gun group. And only a few of them are lesbians.

    Clinton/Lieberman: funny. Clinton/Ferraro: funnier. But McCain/Romney: scarey.

  11. oboy,

    Knowledge of the self is the way to enlightenment. Ohm.

    Carelessness around electricity is the way to a shock. Volta

  12. MAJOR advantage to working in a stable or contracting currency and paying mortgage in a wildly inflating currency? One gets rid of debt *so* fast…

    MAJOR disadvantage to living in a time of wild inflation: it messes with your notions of saving, interest, price, and virtue. Some years in the 800% annual inflation world have cured me of automatic behavior when it comes to money.

  13. Jeff Hentosz,

    Your main point is unarguable, I’d just move the dividing line up 10 years.

    Move it up 22 years. I’m below the cutoff at 51 but them old farts – they bad.

  14. Dena,

    MAJOR advantage to working in a stable or contracting currency and paying mortgage in a wildly inflating currency? One gets rid of debt *so* fast…

    One would think that. The last time I lived through inflation (the seventies, and two times in one lifetime is plenty) though my salary for some reason never kept pace with the inflation. Imagine that. Hence the dreaded stagflation. Flat wages, higher prices, layoffs. Need to borrow money – very high interest. Thirty year fixed interest mortgage – 18%. I kid you not.

  15. Apparently, we can keep our stinkin’ dollars; no one wants them anymore.

    If there’s one lesson which should be readily apparent from any observer of the past decade, it’s that a “bull market” conveys the mentality involved precisely. People will spend a lot of effort making an expensive thing more expensive, until the market becomes too small to support the herd. People are kind of stupid that way. Tech stocks 1999 = housing market 2005 = Euro conversion 2008.

    But the motivating change, when it comes, won’t be the person warming the big chair in the Oval Office. It’ll be the inability of European countries to compete in the global market, because no one can afford their goods or services. Kind of like how Ireland and Italy are already complaining about exactly that.

  16. Also 40-something. I could give a shit about the president’s race or gender. When I hear Obama, I feel good about America and its potential to do good. Ultimately, I’m most concerned about undoing the damage to the economy, country, world (not necessarily in that order) over the last eight years because we’ve had a power-thirsty executive branch.

    Pass the maple bacon lollipops!

  17. We’re down so far that I’d like to think the only direction from here is up. Unfortunately, as Bush as shown us all too well, no matter how deep in a hole we get, some idiot can always dig us deeper.

    I’m desperate for a COMPLETE change next year, and not a return to the bickering 90’s, either. We need to move forward, not back. We need to restore America, but not to retreat to a past seen through rose-colored lenses. We need to get past racism and other bigotry. We need to get our young people involved again. We absolutely need to reject the politics of fear and divisiveness.

    It’s a big job, but we can do it, if we don’t give up. I’m really impressed with Barack Obama – more impressed every day – but the old guard isn’t going to go without a fight. (And as a 57-year-old white guy, I especially recognize that.)

  18. Perhaps not entirely surprisingly there seems to be a number of folks in the montage who by personal appearance and their surroundings appear to be members in good standing of the geek tribe.

    Maybe it has to do with all the Nerf guns. When I moved to my new team, one of the other teams we worked close with tended to have Nerf warfare to relieve some of the pressure. I admit… it was damn fun to man the assault rifle. I wasn’t as good with the sniper (which comes with its own bipod and is huge). And dodging corners with one of the guns that actually has a rotating chamber is great fun. Although I really suck at reloading, despite the flip-top.

    Nerf versus bullets is of course a whole different story. But there’s just something about wandering to the kitchen area, and a bunch of guys suddenly pop up from behind a cube wall and open fire on you.

    I want a Nerf missile launcher. What’s the equivalent of that in Nerfland?

    As for Obama, I am strongly attracted to him. Though I’m below 40. Someone who was above 40 and arguably would have been an idiot in any age range told me that was “just an Asian girl thing” when I was 22.

  19. Deus Ex Malcontent makes the case that Clinton is having it both ways and she damn well knows it. Even as she condemns what Ferraro said, she knows that just like in a court trial, the jury isn’t going to un-hear what the judge orders stricken from the record.

  20. Quote from above:
    “While gun nuts that feel the need to own enough gear to equip an infantry fire team do scare me a bit, I can kind of understand the mindset…each item has it’s own purpose and its own appeal.”

    That’s it. For what it’s worth, I’m a die-hard liberal/constitutionalist who votes for Democrats almost all the time — and I vote almost all the time. I’m also a gun owner.

    I think that gun violence is a major problem. I actually think that the gun ownership/gun control debate is a lot more nuanced that the NRA and the gun control advocates make it.

    I don’t see any conflict between gun ownership and belief in Christianity either. I’m positive there’s nothing in the bible that prohibits hunting, target shooting, or other peaceful (to the humans, at least) uses. Now, murder with a firearm (or any other implement) is pretty well prohibited in both testaments — not to mention local, state, and federal laws.

    For me, the more interesting aspect of the book is how people read it — the semiology of it. What do the guns in the picture signify? What do the other features signify? What does that say about the people interpreting those signals?

    Maybe Umberto Eco will drop by and contribute.

  21. Being a Canadian and having lived through an extended period of time when the Canadian Dollar was significantly less than the U.S. dollar, I have a little bit of experience with the notion of how to survive when your dollar is tanking.

    Repeat after me: It doesn’t matter.

    The exchange rate is not really a signfier of anything; unless you are a currency trader, in the long-term, the exchange fluctuations are kind of meaningless to your day to day existence.

    If you live in the U.S. and get paid in U.S. dollars, the value of your pay does not really change. For a typical person, the biggest expenditure is for housing; not effected by the exchange rate. Lot’s of the food you buy is made in the U.S.; again, not effected by the exchange rate.

    Some folks are going to be effected. If you travel, you are exchanging dollars; in the short run the price of the foreign goods have not adjusted and they may become more expensive. In the medium and long term prices adjust.

    Even your Royalties will adjust. While right now, your foreign royalties have spiked up, eventually the relative price of foreign books will decrease and they will adjust to what they were before.

    There are some benefits to a low dollar as well. If you are in a manufacturing job, your goods are cheaper and they become easier to export. Southern Ontario seemed to rely on the cheap Canadian dollar to attract and maintain manufacturing jobs in the 90’s and early this decade.

    Again, don’t despair and repeat after me: it doesn’t matter.

    cheers
    Andrew

  22. Ferraro’s statement is kind of obnoxious, and I happen to believe that she’s wrong, so it’s nice to see that Clinton and her campaign have made the appropriate noises of condemnation and disagreement. That said, what bothers me most about this episode, and the Samantha Power episode, and all the previous versions of this that we’ve witnessed over the last year, is the overwhelming demand that arises for not just disagreement but denunciation and complete disassociation.

    It’s not enough that Clinton say that this unpaid, informal adviser is mistaken, and that her beliefs don’t represent the position of the candidate or the campaign, she has to drive Ferraro completely out of her campaign, publicly denounce her statements, and never have anything to do with her again. Obama was forced to cut ties with one of his leading foreign policy advisers just because she said something rude about his oppponent.

    The fact that nothing slips through cracks these days because of the combination of citizen media (blogs, etc.) and the 24-hour news cycle means that we have the ability to learn about and track a lot of important stories and details that would have otherwise been hidden from the general public. Those same developments have also resulted in the construction of giant sprawling mountain ranges from what were originally mole hills. I just hope we can get back to some kind of constructive balance.

  23. Tripp, the trick is getting money (cash IN) in the stable currency and spending money (cash OUT) in the inflating one.

    If you get your earnings in an inflating (value-losing-while-you-watch) currency and also pay your bills in the same currency, you’re in a bind. (Example: earn dollars, pay for groceries in dollars. Prices go up far faster than earnings.)

    If you get your earnings in dollars and pay your rent in Euros, you are in REAL trouble, these days.

  24. I don’t think either Obama’s race or his opponent’s gender would be anywhere near as much of an issue if not for the media and their own supporters constantly asking “is his race an issue? is her sex an issue?”

    What? No link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda? Who knew?

    John, you might want to read the report itself (warning:PDF link), rather than depending on the mainstream media’s interpretation of it. Matter of fact, you might want to read the original documents for yourself any time any mainstream-media “news” article says anything about anything.

    The cynical part of me wonders how much the global perception of the dollar will change simply by having a new occupant in the White House on January 20, 2009.

    Probably very little. The dollar is tumbling because the mortgage crisis has exposed a critical weakness in the US economy: we spend too much, save too little, and do entirely too much of both on credit, instead of cash. So long as the US budget remains seriously and obviously out of balance, and both the US government and US consumers keep running up enormous debts, the dollar is going to stay weak. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or ignorant of the facts.

    Given that that’s the case, it should be obvious that any administration which attempts to raise spending even more is going to make matters worse for the dollar, not better. This is the primary reason why I believe a Democrat win this fall will result in an immediate depression in the US economy. Not a recession, a depression, an economic collapse the likes of which this country hasn’t seen in eighty years.

  25. John,

    This forty something voter doesn’t much care about either the gender or the ethnicity of any candidate.

    And as Skip points out, the “no direct operational links” is a context free parsing of Clintonian caliber.

  26. Scalzi

    What? No link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda? Who knew?

    See now? That’s what you get when you let the media do your reading for you.

    Section V: Conclusions Pg 45

    One question remains regarding Iraq’s terrorism capability: Is there anything in the captured archives to indicate that Saddam had the will to use his terrorist capabilities directly against United States? Judging from examples of Saddam’s statements (Extract 34) before the 1991 Gulf War with the United States, the answer is yes.

    In the years between the two Gulf Wars, UN sanctions reduced Saddam’s ability to shape regional and world events, steadily draining his military, economic, and military powers. The rise of Islamist fundamentalism in the region gave Saddam the opportunity to make terrorism, one of the few tools remaining in Saddam’s “coercion” toolbox, not only cost effective but a formal instrument of state power. Saddam nurtured this capability with an infrastructure supporting (1) his own particular brand of state terrorism against internal and external threats, (2) the state sponsorship of suicide operations, and (3) organizational relationships and “outreach programs” for terrorist groups. Evidence that was uncovered and analyzed attests to the existence of a terrorist capability and a willingness to use it until the day Saddam was forced to flee Baghdad by Coalition forces.

    One of those terrorist organizations was the Army of Muhammad

    From pages 34-35

    The agent reports (Extract 25) that The Army of Muhammad is working with Osama bin Laden. …

    A later memorandum from the same collection to the Director of the IIS reports that the Army of Muhammad is endeavoring to receive assistance [from Iraq] to implement its objectives, and that the local IIS station has been told to deal with them in accordance with priorities previously established. The IIS agent goes on to inform the Director that “this organization is an offshoot of bin Laden, but that their objectives are similar but with different names that can be a way of camouflaging the organization.”

    Who knew?

  27. Ok, yup, the report has finally hit the interweb, and I haven’t had time to read it all because it’s 94 pages. And shocking news, the CNN article is so wrong as to be dishonest. All you have to do is read the abstract:

    “Captured Iraqi documents have uncovered evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic terrorist organizations. While these documents do not reveal direct coordination
    and assistance between the Saddam regime and the al Qaeda network, they do indicate that Saddam was willing to use, albeit cautiously, operatives affiliated with al Qaeda as long as Saddam could have these terrorist–operatives monitored closely. Because Saddam’s security
    organizations and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance of and, in some ways, a “de facto” link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust. Though the execution of Iraqi terror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam’s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime.”

    CNN reports that as “no links”.

  28. Frank,

    You have to admit, that’s much further away from the “smoking gun” that the Pentagon was trying to sell us on a few years back in order to jumpstart the Iraq war. That kind of support base for terrorists exists in virtually every Mideastern country, including ones we have deemed our allies.

  29. Yes, the links to Saddam and al Qaeda are so clear and obvious that the Bush administration triumphantly paraded the report around to all the news organizations as vindication of the invasion!

    Oh, wait.

    Nice try, though, guys. What you’re saying is that Saddam was willing to work with people also willing to work with al Qaeda. Given the somewhat mercenary nature of terrorism, this is not exactly a huge surprise, nor the smoking gun you’re looking for.

  30. You may want to read the entire Pentagon report – it actually documents all kinds of links – just not “direct operational links” – which would, of course, leave room for “operational links” and even “direct links” – if these seems like Clintonian parsing, that’s because it is. The media is so invested in the no links story that they cannot change it now without looking like the sort of liars that they accuse Bush of being (I personally think he’s just very inept, so inept in fact that he tricked the smartest woman in American into voting for his evil war).

  31. John,

    In the world of intelligence analysis and military planning, the links documented in the Pentagon report are actionable (as in “direct action”). Money and safe havens are the necessary prerequisites of effective international terrorism, and Hussein’s Iraq was providing both.

  32. Scalzi

    Given the somewhat mercenary nature of terrorism, this is not exactly a huge surprise, nor the smoking gun you’re looking for.

    I wonder why it is, then, that CNN chose to mischaracterize the report?

    And Mr Graves @ 32 has it precisely correct

  33. Wolfwalker @ 25 – Last time we had a Democrat in the White House we had peace, prosperity and a budget surplus. Makes me, for one, nostalgic for the good ole’ days ;-)

  34. @ Frank (33): Precisely correct? Not really.

    “Money and safe havens are the necessary prerequisites of effective international terrorism, and Hussein’s Iraq was providing both.”

    Replace the last words by “Hussein’s Iraq *could* have provided both” and you have a statement both precise and correct.

    Now, if the Pentagon thinks this is sufficient ground to justify an invasion, well…

  35. Guns… are funny things (and I work with them, and have been around them for more than 35 years).

    Pistols, it’s easy to stop with one. But the geek factor (every hobby has geek aspects) means that longarms tend to accrete.

    They do different things. I have four, actually (which always amazes me). One WW2 bolt action, one modern bolt action (which was a gift), one 50’s era semi-auto, and .22 semi-auto.

    The last is cheap to shoot, and good for taking out the varmints (where the .30 cal weapons would be overkill, and dangerous…. what goes up, comes down).

    They are (at the risk of getting slagged for being flip) fun toys, and like cameras, etc. one wants to have things to play with.

    The guy with all the (probably mock) silencers/suppressors, and the one with the flare launcher, are the only ones who struck me as being likely to be nutjobs (though the AK-74 [yes, 74, not 47] and the low-light scope. It’s like turbo-charging a Festiva), and the guy with the box of belted .50 cal.

  36. Irene Delse

    Now, if the Pentagon thinks this is sufficient ground to justify an invasion, well…

    The Pentagon is under civilian control.

    The Congress thought it had sufficient ground to justify an invasion. And they had a whole host of them listed in the resolution besides Saddam’s support of anti-American terrorism.

    And so, there was one…

  37. Frank:

    “I wonder why it is, then, that CNN chose to mischaracterize the report?”

    If by “mischaracterize” you mean “report on what the report actually said” — ie, the “no smoking gun” quote from the executive summary — then I suppose because that’s what they’re supposed to do.

    Personally, I wonder why it is that Fox News doesn’t seem to have it anywhere on its site.

  38. The “smoking gun” I’m looking for? I’m not particularly looking for one. He was a bad guy, we took care of that. And I fully expect that we’re going to have to do that in the future, repeatedly. But you might want to actually read it before making statements about it. I’m about halfway through it right now and the stuff in it is pretty damning.

    “What you’re saying is that Saddam was willing to work with people also willing to work with al Qaeda.”

    No, what the document is saying is that Saddam was willing to work with, and did work with, groups that are part of al Qaeda when they shared common interests. He just didn’t exercise control over them. It also documents extensive connections to many other terrorist groups.

    As to why they’re not trumpeting it? Well, I think you should know the answer to that. It’s because the administration is one of the most incompetent in recent history, and at this point it’s a bunch of people who hate each other, backstabbing each other. They said a bunch of things in the run-up to the war, and they were reported incorrectly, and they never bothered to correct the record. That’s why everyone keeps claiming they said stuff that they didn’t actually say. They’ve completely lost control of the message.

  39. John,

    Have you spent much time working around or with the Federal Bureaucracy? Executive Summaries are usually written by echelons above reality, and are reflective of the opinions of those “worthies” vice what the actual in depth report indicates factually. See also the executive summary of the internal investigation into the CBS/60minutes Rathergate scandal and the executive summary of the 911 Commission, both of which are seriously at odds with the actual documentary record within.

  40. Rodney Graves:

    Yes, maybe that’s why the Bush administration tried to bury it! Because of the executive summary!

    In any event, even if this were so, CNN cannot be blamed for writing from the executive summary. When someone writes “no smoking gun,” it’s the sort of phrase that works for a news story.

  41. Skip, I’m just curious where you got the idea that “direct operational link to” is the same thing as “exercise control over”? There are plenty of ways that the organizations could be directly linked without one exercising control over the other.

    The stated goals of the Al-Qaeda organization, as much as one existed, included the overthrow of the Hussein regime. Not only was he not controlling this particular organization, he was actively opposing its efforts. Of the three examples of his “links to terrorism” cited in Frank’s quotations from the summary, the first is the fairly ridiculous category of “state terrorism against his own citizens” (noxious, but not the sort of thing we’ve ever invaded another country for before) and the second refers to cash grants that were given to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Neither of those made him in any way an active threat to the United States.

    The third merely says that he had some relationships with some “terrorist organizations,” but I’ve never heard anyone seriously attempt to deny that fact. And the bit about The Army of Muhammad merely says that they ASKED for assistance, and that the Iraqi Intelligence Service was told to deal with them “in accordance with existing priorities.” Without knowing what actual transactions took place, its just as easy to read the information about the group’s links to bin Laden as an expose to justify NOT supporting them as it is to read it as evidence that Saddam actively and knowingly supported an al-Qaeda branch.

    The nation was told that the reason Iraq needed to be invaded was because it was an imminent threat to US security. The argument for the severity of that threat was based almost completely on the alleged ongoing, active development of WMD, and Saddam’s alleged close connections to groups with the capability to deploy those weapons against American targets. Neither of those allegations turned out to be accurate.

  42. Rodney Graves:

    Oh, you know, Rodney. I don’t want to bother my beautiful mind with actual reading.

  43. Rodney Graves

    So, are you going to read the whole report or are you going to continue to argue from the position of what CNN believes you should know?

    Hey, we could just forget CNN and Scalzi could argue instead from the NY Sun report

    Report Details Saddam’s Terrorist Ties

    A Pentagon review of about 600,000 documents captured in the Iraq war attests to Saddam Hussein’s willingness to use terrorism to target Americans and work closely with jihadist organizations throughout the Middle East.

    The report, released this week by the Institute for Defense Analyses, says it found no “smoking gun” linking Iraq operationally to Al Qaeda. But it does say Saddam collaborated with known Al Qaeda affiliates and a wider constellation of Islamist terror groups….

    There, that’s better.

  44. The crazy right-wing distortionists!

    But it’s nice to see the “no smoking gun” reference made both articles. Now it MUST be true!

  45. John,

    We were after state sponsors of international terrorism, not directors thereof, if you want to continue with the parsing game:

    State sponsorship of terrorism became such a routine tool of state power that Iraq developed elaborate bureaucratic processes to monitor progress and accountability in the recruiting, training, and resourcing of terrorists. Examples include the regime’s development, construction, certification, and training for car bombs and suicide vests in 1999 and 2000.

  46. Rodeny Graves:

    Well, oddly enough, that’s not how the administration chose to present it in the run up to the war. The reason this is still news is that it materially contradicts the administration line that there was a direct relationship. All this after-the-fact frantic retconning doesn’t change that much.

    Look, depending on how long you’ve been hanging around here, you may or may not recall that I was not opposed to invading Iraq, nor was I all choked up to see Saddam get his. I’m glad the bastard swung. Be that as it may, even back before the war, I was cognizant that the justification the administration was giving to start a war was mostly bullshit. What reports like this say are that, yes, indeed, those justifications were mostly bullshit.

  47. John,

    The reporting thereof was mostly bullshit, and still is. The source documents are another matter entirely, and that is the position you are arguing from.

  48. Rodney Graves

    Frank,

    I’m arguing from the cited source documentation. You?

    Well yeah, except for the NY Sun thing which I threw up just for fun;

    as a counterpoint to the CNN piece.

    ‘Cause you know, Scalzi only reads derivative material…

  49. Frank,

    Drat, red on red. Sorry about that.

    John,

    Thought you were more intellectually honest than this:

    Ward Churchill has al Qaeda ties!

    Well, live and learn.

  50. See, Rodney, John thought you were too clever to toss in completely unrelated issues (i.e., Ward Churchill) as if they advanced the debate, and that you would understand that his flippant response was intended to illustrate that.

    Live and learn indeed . . .

  51. I’m a friend and housemate of the author/photographer of the Armed America book, and I can say with 100% confidence that indeed, many of those gun owners are incredibly huge geeks. In fact, the majority of the hardest-core geekiness featured in Armed America isn’t pictured in the selection linked above. In addition to the Giger and Tolkein fans you’ve already seen, off the top of my head the book features a Baen author and his family, several SCA members (some in garb, no less), two members of my old D&D group, a fanatical Dr. Who collector and a guy wearing an HP Lovecraft T-shirt. Plus between the photographer and his assistant, one of them has a Star Trek uniform hanging in his closet and the other has installed Linux on everything he owns but his bicycles, and he’s probably trying to find a driver for his shifters and brake cables as we speak.

    The nerd is strong with this book.

  52. Thought you were more intellectually honest than this:

    Say, Pot, do you and Kettle know each other?

  53. Rodney Graves:

    “The source documents are another matter entirely, and that is the position you are arguing from.”

    And yet, oddly enough, there’s still nothing that contradicts the executive summary assertion — i.e., no direct link between Saddam and al Qaeda — which was the assertion of the administration as motivation for going to war.

    I do indeed have the pdf, which I will read at my leisure, and I’ll be sure to let you know if anything in there contradicts this.

  54. Crunchbird,

    Another mere sampler at the Sysephean font I see. The relevance of good Doctor Chutch is in his selective citations of derivative sources, which along with the plagiarism, is what got the good Doctor fired. But you are correct, there is no “direct operational link” between Chutch and our host.

    Mea culpae, mea culpae, mea maximae culpae.

  55. Rodney Graves et al:

    By choosing then parsing selected quotes from said original document, you are doing exactly what you accuse the media of doing via writing your own executive summary.

    And in point of fact after mostly reading through this thing, Scalzi is dead on. Yes, Saddam was interacting with terrorists. No, there is no evidence that he was actively trying to do anything with Al Quaeda – an organization with the stated aim of OVERTHROWING SADDAM. Funny that.

  56. MP:

    “And in point of fact after mostly reading through this thing, Scalzi is dead on.”

    Well, see. I read the executive summary.

  57. I see some more light reading of source documents is called for:

    The cassus bellum as specified in the AUMF

    1. Whereas in 1990 in response to Iraq’s war of aggression against and illegal occupation of Kuwait, the United States forged a coalition of nations to liberate Kuwait and its people in order to defend the national security of the United States and enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq;

    2. Whereas after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, Iraq entered into a United Nations sponsored cease-fire agreement pursuant to which Iraq unequivocally agreed, among other things, to eliminate its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs and the means to deliver and develop them, and to end its support for international terrorism;

    [rgg note there are 20 additional "whereas" causes... But we're just dealing with the terrorism angle.]

    Note that no specific terrorist organization is mentioned. Note also that it does not mention “direct operational link[s].” Interestingly, the disputed report does support the cause as enacted into law.

    Looks like a bad case of moving the goal posts to this observer.

  58. Rodney Graves:

    Good job — now find a way to expunge every public statement the administration members made affirmatively tying Saddam to Al Qaeda in the run-up to the war and you’ll be on your way!

    And, no, I won’t let you use my time machine. It’s in the shop. Stupid cheap Chinese-made flux capacitors.

  59. Scalzi

    now find a way to expunge every public statement the administration members made affirmatively tying Saddam to Al Qaeda in the run-up to the war and you’ll be on your way!

    Um, which assertion is that? Are we talking about the links that have been claimed between Iraq and al Qaeda as demonstared in this report, or the “direct link” standard you proposed in 62

    I can find no claim made by the Administration that meets the “direct link” standard.

    The closest I could come to finding such an assertion is in the remarks by Bus on Iraq which took

    place Cincinnati Museum Center – Cincinnati Union Terminal in October of 2002. Let’s review what

    was said

    We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy — the

    United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back

    a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior

    al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated

    with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda

    members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th,

    Saddam Hussein’s regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.

    It would seem this falls somewhat short of saying there was a “direct link” between al Qaeda and

    Saddam

    BTW the “very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad” referenced was

    Zarqawi who clearly was linked to al Qaeda.

    Or perhaps there is the speech Colin Powell gave to the UN Security Council in February of 2003.

    After describing in detail the Zarqawi connection as some others he says

    Terrorism has been a tool used by Saddam for decades. Saddam was a supporter of terrorism long before these terrorist networks had a name. And this support continues. The nexus of poisons and terror is new. The nexus of Iraq and terror is old. The combination is lethal.

    With this track record, Iraqi denials of supporting terrorism take the place alongside the other Iraqi denials of weapons of mass destruction. It is all a web of lies.

    When we confront a regime that harbors ambitions for regional domination, hides weapons of mass destruction and provides haven and active support for terrorists, we are not confronting the past, we are confronting the present. And unless we act, we are confronting an even more frightening future.

    Can you find a quote that meets the “direct link” standard?

  60. John,

    What you remember, and not incorrectly, is how the MSM reported the debate leading up to the war. What the spokesmen for the Administration actually said (in complete context) is what Frank has found in his search.

    Who do you choose to believe? The source documents, or the MSM’s reporting of them?

  61. Frank:

    “Um, which assertion is that?”

    You’re joking, right?

    Your Google-Fu is apparently not very strong, there, Frank.

    I’ll give you one freebie: The 2002 speech in Atlanta in which Rumsfeld said this about a Saddam – al Qaeda link:

    We said why don’t we get this into the intelligence community, let them scrub it over the next week or so, see if they can find out what portion of it can be made public. They did, they came back, we ended up with five or six sentences that were bullet-proof. We could say them, they’re factual, they’re exactly accurate. They demonstrate that there are in fact al Qaeda in Iraq.

    Rodney Graves:

    Given what I’ve just quoted, your comment is ironic.

  62. Scalzi

    That al Qaida was in Iraq is indisputable. Zarqawi’s crew had a base there in the extreme north-eastern part on the Iranain border.

    Whether or not there were operational links between Saddam and al Qaida is what is, as yet, unproven.

    Colin Powell laid out the case against Zarqawi

    He said in part

    Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network, headed by Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda lieutenants.

    Zarqawi, a Palestinian born in Jordan, fought in the Afghan War more than a decade ago. Returning to Afghanistan in 2000, he oversaw a terrorist training camp.

    One of his specialties and one of the specialties of this camp is poisons. When our coalition ousted the Taliban, the Zarqawi network helped establish another poison and explosive training center camp, and this camp is located in northeastern Iraq. You see a picture of this camp.

    The network is teaching its operative how to produce ricin and other poisons. Let me remind you how ricin works. Less than a pinch — imagine a pinch of salt — less than a pinch of ricin — [gestures] — eating just this amount in your food would cause shock, followed by circulatory failure. Death comes within 72 hours and there is no antidote; there is no cure. It is fatal.

    Those helping to run this camp are Zarqawi lieutenants operating in northern Kurdish areas outside Saddam Hussein’s controlled Iraq, but Baghdad has an agent in the most senior levels of the radical organization Ansar al-Islam, that controls this corner of Iraq.

    In 2000, this agent offered al-Qaeda safe haven in the region. After we swept al-Qaeda from Afghanistan, some of its members accepted this safe haven. They remain there today.

    Zarqawi’s activities are not confined to this small corner of northeast Iraq. He traveled to Baghdad in May 2002 for medical treatment, staying in the capital of Iraq for two months while he recuperated to fight another day.

    All of the above is true. Zarqawi’s camp was hit and eliminated by Special Operators working with Kurdish troops soon after the invasion.

    It would have been hit sooner had not Turkey disallowed the 4th ID to use their country as a staging area

  63. Chris Gerrib @34: The “peace” part of the 1990s was an illusion. Remember the first World Trade Center bombing? The Africa embassy bombings? The Khobar Towers bombing? The Oklahoma City bombing? Numerous firebombings and other criminal acts by animal-rights terrorists? The collapse of the Somalia peacekeeping/rescue mission? The USS Cole bombing?

    (I won’t expect you to know about the anti-American terrorist plots that were stopped during the 1990s — most people never heard about them, precisely because they were stopped before they succeeded.)

    As for the “prosperity” part, it was partly real and partly a castle built on sand. The economic growth of the 1990s was primarily driven by the tech boom, and by the fact that a Republican-controlled Congress ensured that the Slug in the White House didn’t get to suck the taxpayers dry of their new wealth. There was no Medicare drug benefit for the government to pay for, nor was there a mortgage/housing/credit bust ripping huge bloody wounds in the financial world. And the collapse of Social Security and Medicare was several more years in the future, so it was still possible to ignore them.

    The situation today is rather different.

    Re #43: Crunchbird wrote: The nation was told that the reason Iraq needed to be invaded was because it was an imminent threat to US security. The argument for the severity of that threat was based almost completely on the alleged ongoing, active development of WMD, and Saddam’s alleged close connections to groups with the capability to deploy those weapons against American targets. Neither of those allegations turned out to be accurate.

    In fact, Bush never argued that Iraq was an imminent threat to US security. His thesis was that given what happened on 9/11, we could no longer wait until we had clear evidence of an imminent threat — because the first evidence of an imminent threat might be the actual attack, by which time it was too late to stop that attack.

    Also in fact, prior to the invasion every intelligence agency in the Western world believed that Saddam still had active WMD programs that he was concealing from the UN inspectors. This CIA document from October 2002 is typical of the kind of information Bush was receiving from the US intelligence community.

    Furthermore, to this day we don’t know for certain exactly what was going on in Iraq before the invasion. There are persistent reports that a bunch of trucks traveled from Iraq to Syria in the last weeks before we invaded. What was in those trucks? We don’t know. There are persistent reports of underground facilities in Iraq that were never inspected, either by the UN inspectors prewar or by the Iraq Study Group after the war. We do know that Saddam had protected some old stocks of gas shells for artillery from the inspectors — because some of those old gas shells have turned up in IEDs. We also know, and the postwar Iraq Study Group documented in its reports, that Saddam had only mothballed his WMD programs, and fully intended to resume them as soon as his European allies succeeded in getting the UN trade sanctions lifted.

    So the real picture is not as clear-cut as you’d like to believe.

  64. Frank:

    “Whether or not there were operational links between Saddam and al Qaida is what is, as yet, unproven.”

    What you mean to say is that after several years and studies — such as the one the Pentagon released — there appears to have been no direct links between al Qaeda and Saddam. Saying that they are “as yet, unproven” is a little like saying despite the evidence to the contrary it is as yet unproven that leprechauns hold up the Earth while standing in fields of clover. It’s technically true but rhetorically misleading.

    Let’s all move on from this conversation. It’s beginning to get as boring as shit.

  65. Oh, and to close the circle, I should have quoted this from the 9/11 commission report

    Bin Ladin was also willing to explore possibilities for cooperation with Iraq, even though Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, had never had an Islamist agenda—save for his opportunistic pose as a defender of the faithful against “Crusaders” during the Gulf War of 1991. Moreover, Bin Ladin had in fact been sponsoring anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan, and sought to attract them into his Islamic army. To protect his own ties with Iraq, Turabi reportedly brokered an agreement that Bin Ladin would stop supporting activities against Saddam. Bin Ladin apparently honored this pledge, at least for a time, although he continued to aid a group of Islamist extremists operating in part of Iraq (Kurdistan) outside of Baghdad’s control. In the late 1990s, these extremist groups suffered major defeats by Kurdish forces. In 2001, with Bin Ladin’s help they re-formed into an organization called Ansar al Islam. There are indications that by then the Iraqi regime tolerated and may even have helped Ansar al Islam against the common Kurdish enemy.

  66. Scalzi

    there appears to have been no direct links

    Since you want to move on, I’ll recap:

    It was never claimed by either the Administration nor the War resolution that there was “direct links” between Saddam and al Qaeda.

    “Direct Links” were not used as a justification for the war.

    The report validates the claims that were made:namely that Saddam and the Iraqi government supported, aided and abetted terrorist organization that were and are a threat to the US and Europe, and it gives us new insight as to just how deep they actually were.

  67. Frank:

    “It was never claimed by either the Administration nor the War resolution that there was ‘direct links’ between Saddam and al Qaeda.”

    The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda: because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda,” Bush said after a Cabinet meeting.

    In other words, Frank: Bullshit.

    And now, seriously, we’re done. Any more comments here on this subject will be snipped out.

  68. John,

    [deleted because I said I was bored with this topic and I meant it.]

    Rodney, when the subject comes up again — and it will — please feel free to comment on it again. I’m just done with the subject for today. Yes, I’m feeling irritable. Some (most) of that is unrelated to this conversation. But it’s making me a little spiky, and I don’t want to end up being rude to folks. — JS

  69. Tripp @14: You speak good sense. And so, by the power invested in me by, oh, let’s say that squirrel across the street, I hearby declare everyone under the age of 55 an enlightened Gen-Xer. You remaining Boomers and Greatest Gens, kindly take your blinkered, paleolithic attitudes and go pound sand.

  70. Well, you can’t say his campaign is about his race nor has Obama attempted to make it so. But race will and does play a nice sized part in this election for his voters. Now because I’m lazy I’m only going to go to some of the last two primaries for some numbers.

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/page/3/

    30% of the voters in Mississippi said race was an important factor in their vote. 60% of that vote went to Obama.

    20% said the same in Ohio with 60% of those votes swinging to Clinton.

    You have two potential “firsts” running for office. The sensationalism caused by that doescause a large group of women or a large group of African Americans to vote on something peripheral (like race) rather than pure issues. Now tons of people have always voted on non issues which is why you have to be a Christian and kiss babies when you run for the office. But people are pretty aware of that or at least willing to acknowledge it. Obama gets something like 91% of the black vote so far and people aren’t seeing a correlation between his success with African Americans and the fact that he’s black? I would be interested to see how the black vote was split up between the two front runners for the democrats in past primaries. My guess is it’s nowhere as skewed as the Clinton/Obama numbers.

  71. Wolfwalker @ 72 – This may get deleted by Scalzi

    [And it was!]

    (if so, my apologies to Scalzi)

    [No worries -- but per my internal sense of fairness, once I close a comment thread to a topic, all further posts on the topic need be snipped, even if I agree with them -- JS]

  72. As a US soldier in Germany you can take my word that the exchange rate sucks. It’s getting far too expensive to buy beer.

    I was also going to comment on the topic that shall not be named, alas I’m too late.

  73. John, since I see no point in making you snip me, just let me know when this nonsense rears it’s pointless head again, and I’ll help you beat it into the sand.

    I think (hope) this passes muster.

    Rodney Graves: re 60. Not quite. Those “whereas” clauses are “predicate language” and have no force of law. People like them “especially people like Bush” because one can throw all sorts of balderdash into them, and make it looks swell; while the law itself doesn’t do what the language says.

    Kind of like, “Reagan cut taxes” which isn’t really true, because it was a “zero revenue change” “cut, which is to say, all he did was shuffle who was paying what (and that was to mostly move the burden to the middle classes).

  74. The issue I have with the Iraq/al Qaeda thing is the reporting itself. A headline that trumpets “NO LINK!” is misleading, because (at least by my definition of ‘link’) this report clearly links Saddam’s Iraq to al Qaeda by a number of intermediaries. What the report doesn’t do, at least what I’ve read thereof, is provide evidence of a direct collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda specifically on the 9/11 attacks.

    If memory serves, one of the main publicly stated motivations for the war (as John points out) was such a direct collaboration. Had the Bush administration said, “We’re going in because Saddam has numerous ties to all sorts of terrorist groups, many of whom themselves have dealings with al Qaeda,” he would have been much more correct… but also would have had a rather weaker argument for sending the troops. I forget where it’s from, but … “It’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission” may have factored into their mindset on this, though it really really shouldn’t have.

    I don’t know… I understand the constraints that a five- to ten-word headline impose, I suppose. However, when a report is released describing numerous groups that do represent “a connecting element or factor” (m-w definition 2b of ‘link’), even indirectly, between the two entities, strongly-worded headlines covering it that read “Report Shows No Link Between Saddam and al Qaeda,” “Oh, By the Way, There Was No Al Qaeda Link,” and “Exhaustive review finds no link between Saddam and al Qaida” seem disingenuous to me.

    (I post this hoping that your spikiness has blunted a bit, John, and this won’t get summarily bitcanned… based on #80, dunno how much hope I have… This does edge into the verboten topic somewhat, but maybe it’s enough of a topic shift to pass muster? I can send cookies! :D)

  75. Brian:

    Yeah, I’m in a much better mood. People can start talking about this particular subject again if they like, although I probably won’t play along. Cookies not required.

  76. I really do think most white voters under 40 don’t see it as the primary quality of interest about the man, whereas I think a significant portion of white voters over 40 do. I could be wrong about this, but this is the vibe I’m getting.

    I don’t think you’re wrong, but I do think you need to up that age limit to, maybe 45-50. I’m 41 and think his being black is the least important thing about him as do many of my local contemporaries.

    Then again, I live in the largeley Democratic Northeast and things may be different elsewhere.

  77. An important thing the thing to remember about Gerry Ferraro is that she is, at heart, a Queens (New York) pol of the Ed Koch variety. Some of those pols were amazingly ham-handed and venal characters. One such was a fellow named Donald Manes who was the borough president and Democratic Party fixer extrordinaire. Manes attempted suicide one day, survived and was taken to the hospital. All his Dem friends gathered around his bed to show him support in his time of need. It was a real love-fest, Ferraro even referring to him as “Donny.” At any rate, Donny went home and it subsequently came out that the Feds were investigating him for various charges of corruption. It was an amazing to see how fast the party hacks–Ferraro included–dumped poor Donny. I remember Koch being particularly nasty in his assessment of his friend, coldly referring to him as a “crook!” A few days later Manes committed suicide, stabbing himself through the heart with a pair of scissors. A sad ending for anyone, even a corrupt pol. At the time, I remember thinking that the Dem-hacks were a cold lot for their treatment on Manes…tossing him to the wolves is the way it looked.
    So when Gerry made news this week, I thought, well, what can you expect from a former Queens Borough party-functionary of the Ed Koch era? Semper Tone-Deaf.

    Finally, Barak has earned his place as a candidate “all by his lonesome.” Gerry got a gimme spot on the Mondale ticket and I don’t recall that she helped carry New York State that year. Maybe someone can help me out on that one.

  78. Brian @ 83

    What the report doesn’t do, at least what I’ve read thereof, is provide evidence of a direct collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda specifically on the 9/11 attacks.

    If memory serves, one of the main publicly stated motivations for the war (as John points out) was such a direct collaboration.

    Neither Bush nor his Administration made such a connection. It was not used as a justification for the war either by Bush or the War Resolution Congress passed.

    And I defy anyone to produce any statement made by Bush or his Administration that contradicts my assertion.


  79. Neither Bush nor his Administration made such a connection. It was not used as a justification for the war either by Bush or the War Resolution Congress passed.

    And I defy anyone to produce any statement made by Bush or his Administration that contradicts my assertion.

    This is sort of like hearing the President pointing out that Saddam Hussein seemed to keep a lot of goats at his palace, darkly hinting that if he owned goats, he wouldn’t leave them alone with Saddam, and that Saddam’s goats all walk kinda funny…

    and then denying that the President called Saddam a goat-fucker.

  80. Frank @ #87:

    Neither Bush nor his Administration made such a connection. It was not used as a justification for the war either by Bush or the War Resolution Congress passed.

    And I defy anyone to produce any statement made by Bush or his Administration that contradicts my assertion.

    I’ll be your huckleberry,

    There is this memo, dated October 27, 2003, sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller. This memo was a written response to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into prewar intelligence claims made by the administration.

    OSAMA BIN LADEN and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaeda–perhaps even for Mohamed Atta

    That would be a direct, operational connection. The Undersecretary of Defense would be in the administration. The memo would have been an official document setting forth an official position.

  81. CV Rick

    a) It is hard to claim that the Bush Administration used the idea that Saddam and al Qaida collaborated on 9/11 in the run up to the war when you are using a memo written after the invasion.

    b) It is hard to claim that the Bush Administration used the idea that Saddam and al Qaida collaborated on 9/11 in the run up to the war when you are using a memo that doesn’t even claim that Saddam and al Qaida operationally collaborated on the attack.

    I also refer you back to comment 74 and what the 9/11 Commission concluded about this.

  82. Frank,

    I refer you to this statement, you might recognize it:

    Neither Bush nor his Administration made such a connection. It was not used as a justification for the war either by Bush or the War Resolution Congress passed.

    And I defy anyone to produce any statement made by Bush or his Administration that contradicts my assertion.

    But, since you didn’t like: “This memo was a written response to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into prewar intelligence claims made by the administration.” And, since that didn’t seem to be good enough for you. Perhaps the reason for this investigation might do as well:

    “We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases … Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.” — President Bush, Oct. 7, 2002 in Cincinnati

    Now don’t you think that that claim in the famous Cincinnati speech, combined with it’s subsequent justification in a Congressional investigation into prewar claims might qualify it for your challenge? I do.

    OSAMA BIN LADEN and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaeda–perhaps even for Mohamed Atta

    What’s my prize?

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